ANNOYED Castleford Tigers chief executive Steve Gill has warned the RFL and broadcasters Sky they are in danger of jeopardising the sport’s future after the club felt forced into a late fixture change.
Their Super 8s fixture at St Helens has been brought forward 24 hours to Thursday, September 8 (8pm) as Sky Sports has chosen to televise the game.
Castleford have, therefore, decided to switch their home derby with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats from Sunday, September 4 (3.30pm) to Friday, September 2 (8pm) in order to give their already depleted squad greater recovery time.
Gill apologised to fans for the upheaval so close to the planned fixture.
Furthermore, he added that it had caused considerable problems for the club, too, who will lose sizeable revenue due to the alterations.
“We have been informed by the RFL that Sky Sports wish to move our game v St Helens to the Thursday night to televise the match, which they are in their rights to do by giving 11 days notice for the round-5 fixtures,” he explained.
“This change has had a profound impact on our round-4 fixture with Wakefield.
“It has been well-documented the current position we are in with both long- and short-term injuries to a vast number of our squad.
“To expect us to have what would have been a four-day turnaround at this point in the season is ridiculous.
“It’s almost as ridiculous as saying you cannot sell any tickets or any hospitality packages 11 days before a game as it could be changed.”
Gill feels the development is not only poor for Daryl Powell’s side but the competition as a whole.
“At this point in the season we are supposed to be in the elite part of our great game – the Super 8s – but this type of forward-planning does not do our game any favours with our fans and sponsors alike,” he said.
“We haven’t taken this decision lightly, but I’m sure you will all agree the players’ welfare must come first, and we stick to our promise of giving every game in the Super 8s our best shot. We are set to lose a significant chunk of revenue from the re-arrangement of this fixture, but let’s get behind Daryl and our boys for these final few games and show them our support.”
Castleford announced on Wednesday that they had 13 players currently sidelined, NINE of whom would not play again this season.
They are sixth in Super League, the 14-11 loss at Warrington on Saturday all but ending their hopes of making the top-four with four games still to go.
St Helens are the only side they can catch but – despite impressive wins over leaders Hull FC and Wigan Warriors – Tigers are seven points behind them.
Indeed, if Saints beat Challenge Cup finalists Hull at home next Friday, the top-four will be confirmed.
Meanwhile, Castleford have stated any fans who have already purchased match tickets or travel who can’t make the re-arranged fixtures can arrange a refund.
They can call in to the Tigers Den or call the ticket office on 01977 529264.
Free travel to St Helens will still be available for the new date of Thursday, September 8.
Tickets for the Wakefield match that have already been purchased dated for Sunday will be accepted on the turnstiles on Friday, September 2.