Keighley made to wait for RFL response

Keighley have given an update regarding their legal challenge of the RFL, following their controversial relegation from the Championship.

At a well-attended meeting, chairman Gary Fawcett answered questions on the club’s threat to take the governing body to the High Court, which could see a legal injunction on the release of the 2015 fixtures.

The Cougars dropped out of the second tier after Batley had a three point deduction for fielding an ineligible dual-registration player reversed.

Their proposed solution includes extended next season’s Championship to 13 teams, but they are yet to receive a considered response from the RFL, whose legal team have asked for time until October 17.

In a statement, Fawcett said: “The situation, simply put, is that it is undisputable that ineligible players were played on 27th July, that the clubs responsible were punished and then had their punishments withdrawn and, as a result of this, the Cougars were relegated on the last game of the season.  

“To date, despite communication and pressure, the RFL has refused to do anything about the situation.

“As a result, we have had to devise a strategy that progressively increases the pressure on the RFL to apply the rules of the game or at least look for a solution that is just and equitable for all.  

“In this regard, an online petition has reached almost 2,000 signatures and this has been sent to the RFL, fans and rugby league supporters have written to the directors at the RFL and, likewise, they have written to over 20 MPs and the All Party Parliamentary Committee for Rugby League.  

“The All Party Parliamentary Committee have responded that they are investigating.  On top of this some fans have, unilaterally, decided to write to the sponsors of our much loved game alerting them to this issue.  

“The club has also been busy.  We have embarked on joint legal action against the RFL, written to the MPs and the All Party Parliamentary Commitee and commenced fund raising for the legal action.  

“We have also embarked on the process of potentially setting up an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the members to address this issue and, during the meeting, options for the resolutions that could be put to the EGM were discussed.  

“On top of this the club has requested that the issue of the 13 club league is raised at the Championship CEO forum on 8th October.”

Keighley are not alone in pursuing legal action – Sheffield, who were displaced in the table as a result of Doncaster having their points deduction reversed, are also in support.

The proposed solution would see Batley and Doncaster’s points deductions re-instated, thus resolving Sheffield’s issue regarding competition prize money.

Batley would be allowed to remain in the Championship, alongside Keighley, making a 13 team division next season. That would mean the club finishing 13th would be relegated, before the controversial “three eights” split occurs. Two further teams would be relegated from the bottom eight, enabling two League One teams to be promoted, as intended.

Batley would not be able to participate at the Summer Bash, due to the uneven numbers, but would receive one bonus point for non-participation.

 

The issue is likely to cause a delay to the release of fixtures for 2015 – last year, they were released on November 25 for the Championship.

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