Bees expect Elite League campaign to start on time - The Rugby Observer

Bees expect Elite League campaign to start on time

Rugby Editorial 29th Jan, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

BEES have assured supporters they expect the new season to commence on schedule despite concerns over the availability of their non-EU riders.

A meeting between Elite League clubs and UK Visas and Immigration last week raised administrative issues and there is now a race against time for the affected riders to be available in time for the start of the campaign.

The UKVI are set to hold an operational workshop for club officials to assist them in a complex process to enable the riders to receive new visas.

The Bees are one of the affected clubs as they have named former Eastbourne rider Cameron Woodward, an Australian, as a signing for their Elite League team in 2015.

But Bees owner Mick Horton insists the Elite League fixture schedule should not be altered regardless of the time taken for the visa issue to be resolved.

Bees race their first match of the season at Leicester in the East Midlands Bowl on March 15 before their first Elite League opener against Wolverhampton at Brandon on March 27.

“We are in full support of the efforts that are being made to resolve the issue, and we sincerely hope that all of the riders involved receive their visas and are able to be here in time.” said Horton.

“However, as a club we want to make it clear that we will be racing no matter what, and we also have to be realistic about the situation.

“Unless we get assurances shortly regarding the time-scale of the visa issue, then we accept the fact that we may need to have a re-think on our team plans, and we have spoken to Cameron about this, especially in view of our busy schedule in the opening weeks.

“I do not believe the start of the season should be put back, and I do not believe clubs such as Lakeside and King’s Lynn, who are not directly involved in this problem, should be given a problem and have to make changes themselves.

“There’s no way I want the season to be disrupted, and our position is that we will be at the tapes for our opening matches whether or not the Australian riders are here, so if we need to find a replacement we will do so.

“We would also be in support of clubs receiving a facility of guests or rider-replacement if needed at the start of the season, especially as it is unclear exactly when the matter will be resolved.”

Bees promoter Mick Horton (right) pictured with team manager Gary Havelock. 11.013.010.cov.nc10

Town’s Justin Marsden wins back possession. (s) Photo by Martin Pulley

Richard Blythe jumps over a sliding challenge. (s) Photo by Martin Pulley


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