No doubt you will have heard the news concerning the two month stadium ban for Paul March. The sanction means that he cannot be present in the stadium 90 minutes before the kick off at any first or second team Keighley Cougars game and only return to the stadium 30 minutes after the full time whistle.
I personally represented Paul at the disciplinary hearing last night at Red Hall because I believed Paul was innocent of the allegations he faced. I also took along 2 witnesses who believed the same. The disciplinary panel decided otherwise and imposed a sanction which is, I believe, without precedent in the history of rugby league for an offence such as this.
I am shocked at the extent of the ban and so is Paul. The reactions so far on Twitter appear to be the same. Paul maintains his innocence regarding the allegation and is taking advice from GMB Union regarding an appeal.
The club will stand by Paul and his family during this time and I sincerely hope everyone at the club, and all within rugby league, do likewise. I am sure that in the face of adversity, and Keighley Cougars has experienced plenty of adversity over the past 20 years, we will be strong and use this negative as an empowering positive for the rest of the season. We are not beaten, nor broken, and I am sure our team will want do their talking on the pitch and support their Head Coach by delivering results for him, so he can walk back into the stadium at around 5.15pm with a big grin on his face.
The journey to success is never smooth. If it was everyone would be successful. This is a bump in the road we will manage and I ask everyone at the club and rugby league everywhere to give Paul their full support.
Gary Fawcett – Chairman