Raiders’ management and ownership are able to advise that our appeal against the penalties issued by the league just before Christmas has been rejected by the EIHA discipline panel. Those penalties include the game being awarded to Swindon 0-5, a further 3 point deduction and a £150 fine.
The reason for the rejection of our appeal has been given simply as “correct procedures were not conducted in order for a game to be cancelled”.
There is therefore no indication that the review of the appeal considered whether the cancellation was justified and wise or considered that further infection was avoided by the cancellation; potentially preventing other games from also being cancelled.
Immediately prior to the cancellation on Sunday 19th Raiders’ management did contact the EIHA to discuss the problems, and the rapid decision that needed to be made to avoid needless inconvenience to the travelling Swindon team, fans from both sides and also the officials some of whom were travelling from Cardiff. At no point during conversations was it pointed out that the cancellation was against the wishes of the EIHA or that penalties of any form would be possible, let alone likely. That call was made primarily to seek opinion and advice and warn of our predicament.
With an incredibly rapidly appearing infection within our locker room we acted swiftly and in good faith to minimise the inconvenience and risk to ours and other teams that would soon come into contact with ourselves and the Swindon organisation and of course all the families of those associated with both teams. It is possible that the appeal panel agreed with what we have done, but not the way we did it. We may never know but suspect it is secondary to following procedures. Given sufficient time we are sure we will follow procedures in the future.
At a time when most teams are seeing a reduction in gate income due to the public’s growing reluctance to attend live sports we feel that the decision to postpone this game was a brave (financially) but necessary one. To be denied the right to play it at a later time and recoup a large proportion of the income because “correct procedures were not conducted” does not show the sport in a particularly good light in the opinion of the Raiders management. Some may agree with our thoughts, some may not. No-one should disagree that the actions were taken with the very best of intentions.
We note that Covid cancellation protocols have now been suggested and thank the EIHA for the retrospective further guidance. We would also like to thank the owners and management of other teams who have been supportive in their agreement with the intent of our actions and the general belief our penalisation is excessive.