Featherstone officials furious with the RFL following fixture rearrangement

Featherstone Rovers’ general manager Davide Longo has criticised the decision to make the club play three key games in the space of 10 days.

The part-time Championship club has been forced to re-arrange their Championship fixture with Swinton Lions due to their involvement in the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup.

The game will now be played on Wednesday June 21st, five days after their Challenge Cup match with Leeds Rhinos and four days before their pivotal Championship fixture with top four rivals London Broncos.

Featherstone claim a dispute and a subsequent appeal process involving both Featherstone and Swinton, a sub-committee of the Rugby Football League’s board has ruled – “taking into account all the relevant factors” – the game must take place on the aforementioned date.

“We always knew qualifying into the competition’s last eight would result in some form of fixture change but,” Longo said.

“As a club, we feel we have become a victim of our own success here,” he said.

“There is no overreaction here from us. It is harsh to say the least. We are a part-time club and now have to play three games in 10 days – with very little recovery or training time possible in between.

“We will play Leeds on Friday evening and then Swinton will visit us on Wednesday, before the boys head to the capital just three days later.

“Given what is at stake in 2017 and where we currently sit on the league ladder, the games against Swinton and London are must wins in our view.

“We wanted to go to Headingley, in front of the Sky Sports cameras, and put on a show. At full strength, we have the ability to push Leeds all the way.

“Our task has now undoubtedly been made more challenging as squad rotation may well have to be considered ahead of what could prove a pivotal week for the club – on all fronts, something the broadcasters will be disappointed to hear.

“There is little we can do from here other than play with the hand we have been dealt. We offered three different fixtures dates for Swinton to consider and they were not willing to agree on one of them.

“This surely acts as a deterrent going forward for ambitious Championship clubs, who wish to challenge the so-called ‘big boys’ of rugby league.

“I am not sure this situation aids the Challenge Cup’s standing within the sport either, which is massively disappointing for spectators, sponsors, players and administrators.”