Toulouse's home advantage in Championship play-offs 'unfair', believes Featherstone Rovers CEO
Featherstone Rovers CEO Martin Vickers believes it is “unfair” that Toulouse Olympique will have home advantage in the Championship play-offs and claimed the French club twice turned down requests from the Post Office Road club to play them in France.
Toulouse finished top of the Championship table with 14 wins from 14 games while Rovers ended the season in second after losing just one of their 21 league outings this season.
Travel restrictions meant that the French club could not host the majority of their home fixtures, although they did play a handful of home games in the UK.
Vickers feels that Toulouse have been given an “added advantage” as they will play in France for both of their play-off games - if they win their semi-final.
Featherstone have played in seven more league games this year plus Challenge Cup and 1895 Cup games
“It just seems unfair that a team playing only 14 games in a season, avoiding the challenges of week-in, week-out rugby are now given the added advantage of a potential home finals series,” he wrote in an update to supporters.
“The travel conditions in France have allowed British clubs to travel for the last 6 weeks, this in a period when most players have received both their vaccinations, yet an arbitrary date of October 1, which just so happens to be the start of the play-off series, has been set for teams to now travel to France.”
He continued: “All clubs have been encouraged by the Governing Body to seek rearrangement of postponed games towards the end of the season and there is no reason why a game can’t be played in France at the present time.
“As a club we have been flatly refused on two occasions by Toulouse to replay our game on a weekend or midweek which is a great disappointment for the whole game.
“I am scratching my head as to why this couldn’t have been arranged. As a game, we mustn’t lose any opportunity to showcase the very best of the sport with the best two teams in the Championship going head-to-head one more time.”