Archive - Thursday, 21 June 2012
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Decision day for Pooler in club’s legal row
TODAY is D-Day for Pontypool’s historic rugby club as its fate hangs in the balance.
FIGHT FOR JUSTICE: Eddie Butler in action during a rugby legends match in 2007
In what could prove to be the club’s most important day since it was established in 1868, Pooler will either have their day in court or have their legal battle thrown out for failing to cover the costs.Pontypool RFC are fighting the WRU’s decision to relegate them from the Premiership as a result of the shake-up which will see the number of teams in the top flight reduced from 14 to 12.
Last week the club set about trying to raise £75,000 after it was ordered by the High Court in London to pledge to cover the WRU’s legal fees. Former club director Frank Stanton said: “The board of directors are overwhelmed with the messages of support and pledges, which have been coming in from far and wide.
There is a sentiment of indignation that an organisation which is supposed to be the voice of rugby clubs is putting a hand over the mouth of Pontypool to ensure we are not heard.”
Director Dai Watt said: “Our fund is looking really good.
We’ve had pledges made to us from people in London, the Middle East and America. Many of our pledges have been verbal so the directors are trying to ensure we get them in writing in order to go forward with the court case.”
Former Pontypool player and Welsh rugby captain-turned-commentator Eddie Butler, who has pledged to donate an unspecified amount to the fund, said: “This is a fight to be fought for a little bit of natural justice. It’s wrong to relegate clubs before the season has even started, The WRU have made some very unjust decisions.
Hopefully this David and Goliath fight will have the David and Goliath result.”
His son, Jack Butler, who plays on the wing for Pooler, said: “It’s a really unfortunate situation for the club. I hope we get the result we deserve.”
A Torfaen council spokesman said: “The council recognises the huge contribution that Pontypool RFC makes, not just to its hometown but across Torfaen. It is in the council’s interest from a cultural and sporting perspective, but also an economic one, that the club continues to perform at the highest competitive level possible. The council has been working with the club for more than a year to ensure that Pontypool Park ground meets WRU standards for the Premiership and is still in discussion with club officials about how it can legitimately help with the court requirements for the guarantee of costs.”
A WRU spokesman said: “The WRU does not feel it is appropriate to respond to any public comment on behalf of Pontypool at this stage other than to state that in defending this claim against it, the union will continue to comply with its obligations to the court and will remain mindful of the court timetable.”