France coach believes disabled players were unprotected in wheelchair final & fears it will deter potential paraplegic players

Last night, England and France served up a classic game in the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup Final.

England edged France to be crowned Champions as Tom Halliwell scored a late try to win the game at the reigning Champions’ expense.

After the game, the French coach Sylvain Crismanovich spoke about the officiating in the game believing that the disabled players were left unprotected: “Do you want the heartfelt response, or the professional response?” he said on BBC.

“It was an exceptional England team, congratulations to England. But secondly there was a lot of confusion around the officiating.

“The referee makes the decision and we have to go with those but the impact is on the body of the players, unfortunately today they prioritised the spectacle, for the show rather than prioritising the disabled players.”

He also suggested in the post match press conference that this decision will deter paraplegic spectators from playing a game that was designed for them: “We’ve gone more for the show element rather than protecting the players. The concern I have is that if there wouldn’t have been any paraplegic spectators in the crowd tonight that would look at that game and think it was a sport for them.”

This is in stark contrast to the comments made by England skipper Halliwell after the game: “Let’s hope there’s more participation anyone can play this sport and that’s the best thing about this game.

“I’m forever grateful for this sport. I just want it grow. Let’s get behind this.”

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