Biggar decide to appeal SRU decision to block promotion into Premiership

Hartreemill men were runaway leaders of National One when the season was declared null and void due to the coronavirus crisis

Biggar have decided to appeal the SRU decision to block their promotion into the Premiership next season. Image: Nigel Pacey
Biggar have decided to appeal the SRU decision to block their promotion into the Premiership next season. Image: Nigel Pacey

BIGGAR have decided to appeal the decision to declare the 2019-20 senior men’s club season null and void, which has depriving the Hartreemill men of promotion into the Premiership despite the fact that they had already won the National One title (and been presented with the trophy) by the time rugby went into shutdown just over two weeks ago.

As it stands, Biggar are 19 points clear of Heriot’s Blues at the top of the table, and with the Goldenacre men only having three games left to play – meaning they could pick up a maximum on 15 points – it would be mathematically impossible for them to alter the current rankings if play was able to resume. However, it was announced on Tuesday that the adult male season is effectively being mothballed, with every side involved starting the 2020-21 campaign in the same position as they had started 2019-20.

Biggar are the only team in the Premiership/National League to have been denied guaranteed promotion, while East League Three side Dalkeith are in the same boat.


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In an interview with The Offside Line yesterday [Wednesday], Biggar club President Johnny Bogle indicated that he did not envisage the club appealing the decision, but stressed that there had not yet been a full discussion on the matter.

Having subsequently gauged the reaction of the wider club, and with the committee having discussed the matter fully, it was decided that an appeal should be submitted to the SRU and that was lodged late last night.

“There was quite strong feeling throughout the club that we had to at least appeal,” explained Bogle. “It is a very difficult situation, but our feeling is that having an 11 team Premiership next season would be workable and the fairest solution.”

It has been reported this morning that Newcastle Falcons, the runaway leaders in the second tier English Championship, will be promoted back into the Premiership next season, despite the fact that they could still theoretically be caught by Ealing Trailfinders. However, in this instance, Saracens were already condemned to relegation out of the Premiership as punishment for salary cap breaches, so there was a space needing to be filled. That is not the case in the Scottish Premiership, with bottom of the table Edinburgh Accies still having a fighting chance of avoiding the drop when play was halted.

Among the objections voiced by club members last night is their belief that the questionnaire sent out to all clubs in Scotland offering five possible solutions to the problem was not presented as a voting card, rather a tool to help gauge opinion, and as such many clubs responded on the basis of what suits them best rather than what is the fairest outcome overall.

The questionnaire offered five possible solutions –

  • Promote and relegate based on the league tables as at the time of the suspension
  • Take an average of points over the season and promote and relegate based on this outcome
  • Count earlier fixtures as double headers and promote and relegate based on this outcome (where neither home or away fixtures have been played award two points to each team)
  • Award two points to each team for all outstanding fixtures
  • Declare the season null and void with no promotion and relegation

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David Barnes
About David Barnes 1818 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

8 Comments

  1. Biggars success this season is clear illustration of how paying players in the ‘amateur’ game needs to be stamped out by the SRU. National one was anything but a level playing field this year. There were a few leagues won (bought) this year by paying players. This must change.

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  2. Bigger won the Division fair and square. They were awarded the league title by the SRU and should be promoted.

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  3. Sounds like the SRU consultation/vote/questionnaire has been a real botch job.

    The issue with the 5 possible solution questionnaire used by the SRU is that it does not fairly reflect the choice of two initial paths.
    Either:
    a) No requirement to decide promotion/relegation – leagues null and void.
    or
    b) Promotion/relegation required as enough of season played to merit this.

    If path b) is what the majority of clubs believe is the fairest path, then a second vote is required about what process/formula to use.

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  4. Just looking at the top 4 leagues, Biggar is obviously the stand out appeal candidate at the top of BT1. However, at the bottom, Dundee, Whitecraigs and Carrick all looked set for the drop, so why not go with that? Accies and Hawks were too close to call, but easy to resolve with two leagues of 11. At top of BT2 and BT3, both Stew Mel and Berwick looked likely champions, also winning the head to heads v Lasswade and Dumfries, who will lose out anyway in a null and void. As for the Premiership, its only about the glory where Marr look worthy enough, winning the head to head v Currie, who they trounced at home as well as Hawick away. It will always be caveated * but at least it’s something rather than a complete cop out, however “reasonable.”

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  5. RFU not going down the “null & void” route, but calculating tables on a best playing record formula.

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  6. The decision from Biggar RFC to appeal the Scottish Rugby Union regarding promotion or relegation. Will open up for other clubs to appeal the same decision. If Biggar RFC were to win the appeal which club do they relegate. As it stands it would be Edinburgh Academicals FC would be relegated. But if the Edinburgh Academicals FC in theory could win those two remaining games. Then the club that club that finishes bottom would be relegated. And they could appeal and state the Scottish Rugby Union have made the season null and void.

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    • Whitecraigs 2nd XV have won everygame with a bonus point – one postponed game from Nov left to play. They had won the leauge by January -they should be promoted mathematically they couldn’t be caught. Anywhere there is a opportunity for a team to be caught either to be promoted or relegated I feel this is fair for these leagues to be replayed into next years season.

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    • Some 6 months ago Mr Dodson was quite happy to threaten legal action over the typhoon situation. I think, more than anything, this gives a clear view of the decision making process at Murrayfield.

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