Keighley Cougars to meet with lawyers over possible action

Keighley Cougars chairman Gary Fawcett will meet with with an industry leading lawyer on Thursday, as the club look into potential legal action over their relegation from the Championship.

The Cougars were relegated to the third tier after their 26-24 defeat to Featherstone which, coupled with Batley’s victory over Doncaster, saw them take the fifth and final relegation spot in the division last weekend.

But Fawcett is adamant that the reprieve Batley received for fielding an ineligible player earlier in the season has condemned the club to relegation, and he outlined in a statement that both Batley and Doncaster should have been punished for fielding players they shouldn’t have – and they will now meet with lawyers to assess their next move carefully.

“We’ve taken advice from our local solicitor, Waddingtons, and are seeing Richard Cramer on Thursday morning,” Fawcett said.

“Clearly we have a very strong case because the players in question were ineligible, Batley and Doncaster were guilty and that the three points should have remained deducted under the rules that we all played to.

“If we didn’t play to the rules we might as well take a rugby ball down to the local park and have a kick around without a referee.”

Fawcett continued by detailing that effectively, neither club has been punished for breaching the rules – after their three-point deduction was overturned by the RFL in the final weeks of the season.

“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,” said Fawcett.

“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.”