BAL cancels opening fixture in Bedford

| | ,

Bedford International Athletics Stadium. Photo: Alex Seftel

The British Athletics League (BAL) has had to cancel the opening fixture in Division 2, 3 and 4 after a shortage of officials left the meetings unable to take place.

Bedford International Athletics stadium was due to host the combined opening match on Sunday 12th May. However, a congested calendar that includes this weekend’s individual County Championships across the UK has left officials in too short supply for the event to run.

Despite this, the opening Premier & Division One match will still go ahead as planned in Swansea on 12th May and will be available to watch live on here.

Speaking about the fixture clash and cancellation, BAL Chair Dean Hardman said “Unfortunately, despite best efforts, it became apparent last week that we were dangerously low on officials who had agreed to officiate the meeting.

“The decision to clash (with the county champs) was taken in good faith, there was no intention to do anything other than give as many decent level competition opportunities to athletes as we could.

“At the AGM last November, when this decision (the calendar) was approved by clubs, I stated as chair that this was not about trying to persuade officials not to officiate at their county championships. The intention was to encourage as many officials as we could to do both. That’s why the match is on a Sunday and why it was a triple header as well.

“We have made a decision as a committee that we will not seek to repeat this clash in 2020.”

It is unclear as of yet if the cancelled fixture will be rearranged for a later date, with Hardman adding:

“The reason why these clashes happen in May is that the calendar is very congested. That’s not to say we’re saying that it (the opening match) won’t be rearranged, we just need to have that conversation.

“We will let people know what the arrangements are for any rearranged fixture or what the decision is.”