HALIFAX’S directors have urged the club’s Supporters’ Trust not to “detract” from tonight’s televised clash with Widnes by protesting against the Rugby Football League’s decision to exclude the 2010 Championship champions from Super League.
Fax were turned down for a top flight licence last month despite meeting the governing body’s criteria, with Red Hall bosses instead opting to stick with current Super League strugglers Wakefield.
The decision attracted widespread derision, prompting fans to plan a symbolic protest at the Shay tonight.
But in a statement issued late yesterday and clearly designed to distance the club from any demonstration, Fax director Tony Abbott described those suggestions as “unhelpful” and said there was now no reason to think the RFL’s decision was anything other than “fair and objective”.
“The directors of Halifax RLFC understand the motives behind the actions of members of the Halifax Independent Supporters’ Trust, but would urge them to avoid actions which could detract from the spectacle of a vital match and distract the team,” said the statement.
“I can understand the fans’ frustration at us missing out on a Super League licence but their decision to stage this protest is unhelpful at this stage.
“Even though some supporters may not like it, the fact is that the licensing was introduced in 2008 with the overwhelming support of clubs and that is the system with which we have to work.
“The directors of Halifax RLFC accept that the RFL followed the specified process in assessing our application and that we have been treated fairly and equitably.
“We received formal feedback on our licence application from the RFL on Tuesday of last week and are continuing to hold positive dialogue with the governing body.
“We have now received full written details of our application assessment and can confirm that, although we are not privy to any other club’s application we have absolutely no reason to believe that that assessment was anything other than fair and objective, in accordance with the criteria applied to this round of licensing.
“The findings of that assessment are already being addressed to ensure that the RFL is aware of the readiness of the club to step up if one of the current licence holders fails to fulfil its licence terms.
“At worst this will help us strengthen our bid for a Super League licence in the next round of licensing in three years time to put Halifax RLFC where it, and its supporters deserve to be.”