Leith RFC avoid sanction over match snub

Volunteers from Leith RFC took part in Bethany Christian Trust Caring Christmas Trees project
Volunteers from Leith RFC took part in Bethany Christian Trust Caring Christmas Trees project
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Leith Rugby Club will face no sanctions after refusing to play an East Division Two match last weekend while they attended a pre-arranged charity event.

The club had agreed to assist the Bethany Christian Trust Caring Christmas Trees project at Ocean Terminal last Saturday before the Championship committee demanded a game against Forrester – which had been postponed due to inclement weather on December 13 - be played that day.

Leith were expected to incur a two-point deduction for their actions but today the SRU announced they would suffer no such penalty.

A statement read: “When the club realised the clash it sought dispensation to further reschedule the match but the Committee, mindful of fixture backlogs which can arise through bad weather then lead to amateur players playing on until April and May, asked them to fulfil the fixture.

“Leith decided to honour its commitment to the charity and the fixture against Forrester was not played.

“Barry Sinclair (Portobello), convener of the East Region Competitions Committee, has advised Margaret Smith, the Leith RFC secretary, that no penalty will be imposed.

He wrote: “The Committee . . . (has) determined that no sanction be imposed on this occasion. The rationale for the decision is that had dispensation been sought at the time of agreement to commit to the charity event, the Committee would have given fair consideration.

“The Committee does wish, however, to remind clubs of their acceptance of the terms of the Club Participation Agreement in respect of obligation to stipulated stand-by dates.”

Mr Sinclair added: “I’m happy that the charity event was successful and that Leith RFC’s stock in the community has risen after they volunteered their support for a most worthwhile cause.”

Jim Smith, president of Leith Rugby, said: “We are glad that common sense has prevailed with the East Regional Committee who made the original decision and they have been magnanimous enough to acknowledge that we were purely motivated by helping local charity.

“One by-product was that our website had 28,000 hits and that was wonderful exposure for the Bethany Trust.”

Among those who endorsed Leith’s actions were former Scotland internatinalist Brian Laney, who wrote from New Zealand, saying: “Congrats Leith Rugby. Bigger picture.”

Also, ex-England hooker Brian Moore highlighted the issues on his weekly Talksport radio programme..