Relegated Keighley Cougars explore legal angles

Keighley Cougars  are exploring legal options relating to failure to dock Batley Bulldogs points
Keighley Cougars are exploring legal options relating to failure to dock Batley Bulldogs points
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RELEGATED Keighley Cougars are seeking legal advice regarding the failure of the RFL to dock Batley Bulldogs three points for fielding an ineligible player.

Keighley suffered demotion from the Championship in agonising circumstances yesterday.

They conceded a last-minute try to second-placed Featherstone Rovers to lose 26-24 and slip into 10th spot - the final relegation berth.

The West Yorkshire club finished just one point behind Batley who delivered a surprise victory at high-flying Doncaster.

However, Keighley are furious given their rivals (and also Doncaster) had been docked three points for breaking dual-registration rules last month - only to have them reinstated on appeal a fortnight later.

That gave Batley a vital lifeline and, indeed, without it, they would now be contemplating Championship One football in 2015.

Keighley have already been aggrieved once before by the governing body this season when player-coach Paul March was twice handed lengthy suspensions for verbally abusing match officials.

“I spoke to the RFL yesterday straight after the match expressing that we are feeling very hard done to,” said Keighley chairman Gary Fawcett, in a statement.

“Simply put, our Head Coach was found guilty of transgressing one of the rules of the game (although I looked at and analysed the video footage from one of the allegations against Marchy and could find no evidence that he was guilty) and he was punished with a four-match ban followed by a two-month stadium ban.

“On the other side it is agreed that Doncaster and Batley broke the rules and fielded ineligible players one of which, Jacob Fairbank, scored the winning try for Batley during the game in which he was ineligible.

“For breaching this rule Batley and Doncaster were found guilty and deducted three points by a disciplinary panel which were somehow, miraculously, reinstated the following week and, as far as we know, neither club has been punished at all.

“There is no publicly available information informing us why the points were re-instated.

“May I remind the reader that, when the same thing happened in football earlier this year, the team in question were thrown out of the competition!

“Currently, we are seeking legal advice regarding this problem.”