Pontypool RFC have called for Beddau RFC to be expelled in a stunning swipe at the Championship club and the Welsh Rugby Union.
In a strongly-worded statement, the club accused Beddau and the Welsh Rugby Union of a “highly embarrassing and unacceptable display of unprofessionalism” – you can read the WRU’s response here. Pontypool’s statement claims Beddau allegedly rejected several dates to rearrange their postponed fixture without explanation, ensuring Pontypool’s season – and hopes of winning a fourth consecutive title – ended prematurely.
The club have previously called for the entire WRU Game Board to resign after it was announced there would be no promotion and relegation in the National Leagues during the 2021-22 season. Once again, this is another setback for the club as they attempt to regain their Premiership status for the first time since 2013.
Their latest statement went on to allege that, after referring the matter to the WRU, they were told they would not be handed a bonus-point walkover victory and Beddau would not be sanctioned for conduct that Pontypool claims to be “unprofessional and disgraceful”.
“After waiting over two weeks for a progress update and given all fixtures were to be completed by 14 May 2022, our patience has run out and we refuse to be degraded a day longer,” it continued.
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Confirming that the season would not conclude with all fixtures completed, they announced that the recently postponed clash with Ystalyfera – which was called off after a player was left waiting nearly three hours for an ambulance after suffering a neck injury – would not be rearranged. As a result, Pontypool can finish no higher than third.
“Pontypool RFC would like to place on record its strong dissatisfaction towards Beddau RFC for how it has chosen to conduct its business,” said the statement. “To forfeit a National Championship fixture diminishes the league’s credibility and makes an even greater mockery of what has already been a disjointed season. It is the club’s position that they should be expelled from the National Championship immediately, but this clearly is not going to happen due to the unforgivable ineptitude of the Welsh Rugby Union.
“As such, the club also wishes to place on record its frustration for how the Welsh Rugby Union has lost complete control of its ability to govern the game. Time and time again, the governing body has proven it is not fit for purpose and Pontypool RFC is again calling for the entire Community Game Board to resign from their positions with immediate effect.
“Welsh club rugby deserves a Community Game Board – and a Board of Directors for that matter – that hold the requisite skills to manage the game at all levels. To place an ambitious club such as Pontypool RFC in a position whereby the club’s season has been abruptly terminated whilst still holding a mathematical opportunity to win a National Championship is indefensible. They have caused untold damage to the reputation of the second tier of Welsh club rugby.
“We extend our sincerest apologies to our supporters for this highly embarrassing and unacceptable display of unprofessionalism from Beddau RFC and the Welsh Rugby Union. We also wish to express our immense gratitude to the Pooler Army for your unwavering support during what has been an immensely challenging period throughout COVID-19 and the subsequent return to play.
“Our focus will now turn to making preparations for a hugely important 2022-2023 season, but we do so with an intense level of cynicism and concern for how the Welsh Rugby Union will govern the National Championship effectively, given its abysmal track record of presiding over a culture of failure and apathy towards the clubs it supposedly represents.”
Responding to the statement, the WRU said: “As stated before the start of the season, following 17 months without organised, competitive rugby and a 20 month absence of League rugby, the key aims for this transitional season were always to help clubs to continue to restart community rugby safely; to welcome players, coaches, referees and volunteers and supporters back to rugby clubs and support players as they moved to new age groups.”
WRU Community Director Geraint John added: “From the outset of the pandemic, we were very clear in our principle goal of ensuring all our clubs were in a position to come out of this period as sustainable businesses and we provided significant on and off field support in conjunction with Welsh Government and other bodies to enable them to do this.
“Due to the probability of further disruptions to the adult season due to high infection rates and lockdowns – which affected clubs around the Christmas period in particular – the Community Game Board made the decision that there would be no promotion or relegation this season. We would like all our clubs to complete their fixtures if possible – and we will celebrate outright League winners in conjunction with our sponsor Admiral – but because of all the mitigating factors this season, the CGB also decided very early on that clubs who didn’t fulfil all their fixtures this season would not be sanctioned.
“We totally understand the frustration of some clubs but we are pleased with the way the majority of our clubs have adapted to everything the last two years has thrown their way. Volunteers across the country have worked tirelessly to implement the pathway to full participation we put in place and we look forward to seeing further growth across the board as we prepare for season 2022/22. I and the Community Game Board would like to thank them for their hard work and support during these difficult two years.”
Beddau RFC have been approached for comment.