Scotland Wheelchair Rugby League Scottish Challenge Cup 2015 2nd Leg.

Statement on behalf of The Board of Scotland Wheelchair Rugby League.

It is with considerable disappointment that we confirm the decision of Glasgow Panthers Wheelchair Sports Club to forfeit the 2nd leg of the SWRL Scottish Challenge Cup 2015.

Upon reviewing the 1st Leg of the competition, The Scotland Wheelchair Rugby League Board felt it necessary to address the issue of having very young children on court at the same time as fully-grown adults.

It was apparent to The Board that there was significant risk of foreseeable harm occurring as a result of this very obvious physical mismatch between opposing players.

Whilst Wheelchair Rugby League is a “mixed ability” sport by its very nature, The Board unanimously felt it would be in breach of the RFL’s Safeguarding Policy in relation to the welfare of children, which SWRL adopts.

The policy states clearly:

3.1 DUTY OF CARE

Every person, club, league or other organisation in Rugby League has a duty of care to ensure the safety and welfare of any child involved in Rugby League or related activities, to safeguard them and protect them from foreseeable forms of harm. Safeguarding involves all involved in Rugby League acknowledging that this duty of care exists and putting practical measures in place throughout the game to minimise the likelihood of foreseeable harm arising.

This decision meant Glasgow Panthers would be unable to field two of it’s young members in the Challenge Cup 2nd Leg. In view of this, Scotland Wheelchair Rugby League immediately sought suitable dates to hold a children’s event in Glasgow, providing game time in a safe environment for those players.

Indeed, Dundee Dragons offered to host a “minis” half time event during the 2nd Leg, coined “The Wee Cup” to facilitate game-time for the younger members of both clubs.

The Scotland Wheelchair Rugby League Board informed Glasgow Panthers of this decision and of Dundee’s proposal, via the local SWRL Representative in addition to direct communication from the Chairperson of SWRL.

Glasgow Panthers then held a committee meeting, the outcome of which is herein paraphrased:

“The decision has been made that if all panthers don’t play same as 1st leg, panthers don’t play 2nd leg and its not forfeiting the match, The whole event rules have been changed”.

All members of The Scotland Wheelchair Rugby League Board are disappointed at this response. The Board feels it provided a suitable alternative in order to accommodate Glasgow’s younger members, including them in the excitement of the 2nd Leg, all the while keeping them safe.

 Due to the high-profile nature of the event, and in the pursuit of transparency, the Scotland Wheelchair Rugby League Board felt moved to issue a public statement on the matter.

This was necessary to clearly outline our decision in respect of the Safeguarding Policy within Rugby League, and indeed to publicly record that the Competition’s rules remained unaltered.

We close this matter by confirming the following:

Due to Glasgow Panthers having willfully forfeited the competition’s 2nd Leg; Dundee Dragons are therefore rightfully crowned the SWRL Scottish Challenge Cup 2015 winners based on the result in Glasgow.

Scotland Wheelchair Rugby League will continue to work with our partners in Glasgow and the West to develop a sustainable future for the sport in the area.

All enquiries on this matter should be emailed to Jamie.seery@scotlandwrl.org.

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