On Thursday 19th September a joint pre-action litigation letter was sent by the Cougars and Eagles to the RFL setting out the basis of case against the RFL in the ineligible player crisis.
The letter outlines three potential breaches of the Operational Rules. The rules in question are B 3:17 relating to ineligible players, D 1:34 d relating to the validity of new evidence in appeals case and D 1:37 which involves the sending of minutes relating to disciplinary and appeals hearings to all affected parties within 48 hours of the hearing.
What is clear and beyond question is that the two players involved, Jacob Fairbank and Ben Crooks, were ineligible based on the written rules of the competition and that they had a profound impact on the game in question each one participated in whilst ineligible. Jacob scored the decisive try in the Batley win against the Eagles and Ben Crooks scored a late try against us to achieve a bonus point for Doncaster. The disciplinary panel found them ineligible and deducted 3 points which is the standard punishment for this type of transgression (i.e. one win) across rugby league and, generally, all other sports. With the lifting of the sanction by the appeals panel on 28th August and, currently, with the RFL refusing to do anything about this situation, both clubs had no option but to take legal action.
Is this correct and, if so, does that mean that the rule in question that was broken, is redundant and certain clubs, with dual registration agreements, now have open season to play whomsoever they want at any game they choose?”