Decision made on abandoned Super League clash

The Abandoned match involving Huddersfield and Leigh Leopards at Leigh Sports Village will be continued from the 49th minute on Sunday. The Giants disagree with the decision.

Leigh Leopards v Huddersfield Giants is set be continued from where it left off on Friday night after the game was abandoned when the lights failed in Leigh. The RFL have come to the decision that the game will be restarted where it left off, on 15:00 on Sunday the 3rd of September. The Huddersfield Giants do not agree with the decision.

The RFL have sent both clubs the following statement:

Leigh Leopards and Huddersfield Giants will make history this weekend by resuming the Betfred Super League fixture that was left unfinished on Friday night because of a floodlight failure at the Leigh Sports Village.

The RFL Board, which has total discretion in such matters under Operational Rule B1:29, considered submissions from both clubs, and the executives of the RFL and Rugby League Commercial, and has ordered that the match should be resumed at 3pm on Sunday afternoon (September 3) from exactly the position at which it was interrupted.

That leaves 32 minutes to be played, with Leigh Leopards leading 16-12.

This unanimous decision, which is thought to be unprecedented in Rugby League although it does follow examples from other sports, was taken with a number of factors in mind: fairness to both teams; importantly, the welfare of both sets of players, given the lack of time remaining in the season for a rearranged fixture; the ability of spectators to watch the match, especially those who had bought tickets for Friday night; and logistical issues at the Leigh Sports Village.

The latter two factors were especially important in determining a Sunday resumption rather than a midweek date.

In addition, the Board noted that both clubs play their next fixtures next Friday (September 8), and the importance of competition integrity for all clubs in the Betfred Super League.

There are no specific criteria in the Operational Rules regarding the time elapsed in a match before a result should stand, or at what point it should be replayed – such matters are left entirely to the discretion of the RFL’s independent Board.

The clubs will make further announcements regarding ticketing arrangements for the resumption of the match.

In addition to the score line, the match will resume exactly as it was left on Friday night – in terms of the numbers of interchanges remaining, and with the same team of match officials.

Huddersfield Chief Executive Richard Thewlis commented.

“We Initially sympathise with all at the Leigh Sports Village for the difficult and unforeseen scenario that unfolded last night that now results in them having to turn the stadium around and go again in such a short space of time which we know is a tremendously difficult task given the decision of the RFL board. That said the Giants do not believe that the RFL board have arrived at the right decision and believe that the full game should have been replayed. Whilst we accept the difficulties that they have faced, this  decision made by them is unprecedented in the history of the game. We have asked about an appeal against this decision but are told there is no mechanism to do so within the rules. Thus the matter is dead and the focus must turn to the logistics of tomorrow which are being worked on by many people and when we are able to firm those up and communicate them we will, of course, do so.”