UPDATE: The Rugby Football League have made the following announcement:
The Rugby Football League can confirm that Widnes Vikings and Wigan Warriors have reached an agreement to play their Betfred Super League round two fixture tonight (Friday, February 24) at the Select Security Stadium in Widnes. The clubs have agreed that this will become a Widnes Vikings home fixture and the corresponding fixture in round 20 in July will be at the DW Stadium in Wigan.
Separately the Rugby Football League can confirm it will investigate the circumstances surrounding the postponement of the game by Wigan Warriors and any potential breach of the Rugby Football League Operational Rules.
Interesting that Wigan don’t just run the competition themselves and will have to play this match at Widnes. I think that is a fair compromise, however I think the match later in the season between these teams should also be at Widnes too.
The main thing here is that Widnes are happy with the outcome.
In one of the most arrogant moves I can remember seeing in Rugby League, Wigan Rugby League club decided that they didn’t want to play their match against the Widnes Vikings on Friday night because they didn’t want to ruin the pitch for Wigan Athletic soccer club who had a match of their own coming up.
Wigan made this decision the night before their game against Widnes, and called it a “postponement” rather than a club decision to just not play the game.
The Widnes Vikings put out this statement yesterday shortly after the announcement which obviously blindsided them:
Widnes Vikings wish to apologise for the confusion surrounding the status of their fixture with Wigan Warriors, scheduled for tomorrow evening.
James Rule, CEO of Widnes Vikings, says: “At 6.30pm, I received a call from Kris Radlinski who informed me that Wigan Atheltic and Ian Lenagan had agreed to the postponement of our fixture, due to the condition of their pitch and the importance of Wigan Athletic’s upcoming fixture.
As we have not been involved in any consultation prior to this announcement, we are unable to comment further at this stage. We will do so in due course.”
To be, this is a clear cut situation where by the Wigan club should be forced to forfeit their competition points to Widnes.
You can not just decide to not play a match because you might have an effect on the playing surface. If that is allow, you end up on a very slippery slope where by every club can cancel games at the last minute and blame possible damage to the pitch.
Calling off fixtures at the last minute sometimes can’t be helped. If there is dangerous weather (Which was not the case here) or if a playing surface is a danger to players, by all means, postpone a match.
To call off a match because you’re worried about a soccer match, unbelievable! There is no way in the world that Widnes should be forced to play this fixture again.
The Widnes Vikings were ready to turn up and take on Wigan. Wigan decided they didn’t want to play.
That is a clear cut case, Wigan forfeited the fixture, and Widnes should be awarded the competition points.
Over to you Rugby Football League….