Hull Kingston Rovers CEO Mike Smith has issued a strongly worded statement, after his club’s game against Castleford was rescheduled.
The match was originally due to be played at the KC Lightstream Stadium on Sunday, June 7, but will now take place on Friday June 5, kick-off at 8pm.
This follows a request from Castleford to move the game, which the RFL, bound by the circulated written protocol, agreed to do.
The game is not going to be televised on Sky Sports.
“The RFL has accepted a request from Castleford Tigers to rearrange this fixture and frankly we believe it is a joke to make this ruling so long after the fixtures were released,” said Smith.
“We received a request to change the fixture in mid-February, which we rejected at the time, and we have been arguing our case for the RFL to overturn their decision ever since.
“As far as we are concerned, the fixtures were signed off by all clubs in October before they were released to supporters and whilst we accept there will be changes during the season due to Sky broadcasting, that is not the reason behind this decision.”
Smith feels that the decision to move the game will set a dangerous precedent for Super League. He also believes that Castleford have acted unfairly.
“The Tigers are due to face Leeds Rhinos on the Thursday following our game and have sought to reschedule our match on player welfare grounds to allow a longer turnaround,” he explained.
“As a club, the safety and welfare of our players is the number one priority but we feel this sets a dangerous precedent for the Super League competition.
“Castleford have known they would be playing Leeds on the Thursday night since mid-October and waited until the middle of February to act, which is totally unfair on our club and our supporters.
“Sunday afternoon is our traditional kick-off time and to be forced to move away from that in these circumstances leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
“The decision from the RFL has been made on player welfare grounds to allow a minimum of a five-day turnaround between fixtures, yet clubs are asked to play two games in four days over the Easter period.
“Will the RFL be able to accommodate both clubs the way they have with Castleford? I don’t think so.
“The way this has been handled shows a lack of respect to supporters but the fact of the matter is that we will now play Castleford on Friday, 5th June at 8pm and I’m sure Chris Chester and his side will be doing their utmost to continue their strong home record this season.”