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.
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