Ospreys statement re Newport Gwent Dragons

Ospreys Rugby would like to make known our disappointment regarding the scheduling of this this important fixture...

... and the lack of flexibility and understanding from the Celtic League and our broadcast partners which has, we believe, seriously undermined the integrity of the Magners League, not to mention the inconvenience it has caused to our players, supporters and commercial partners.

Given the possibility of a Football League play-off fixture taking place at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday 8th May there are very real issues, both legal and logistical, that prevent us from being able to offer any form of guarantee that we can host a match on the Friday night, and these issues have been discussed at length with all parties from the outset.

In fairness to the broadcasters, they flagged this issue with the Celtic League in the first week of February, suggesting a meeting to make suitable arrangements to avoid any fixture clash on the final weekend of the season. Sadly, this meeting never took place. As a result we now find ourselves in the position that we are unable to confirm the actual date and time of our final fixture against Newport Gwent Dragons until after Swansea City's final league fixture on Sunday 2nd May.

If Swansea City do not qualify for the play offs, the game will be played and televised by BBC Wales on Friday 7th May at 7.05pm. If they do qualify, it will be played on Sunday 9th May at a time to be agreed by broadcasters.

This is quite clearly an unsatisfactory situation. It is impossible for us to proceed with any planning or preparations for the game with any degree of certainty. In summary, it means that at best this will give us just six days to prepare for this game, and at worst, four days, causing great inconvenience to players, supporters and commercial partners, and we would like to apologise to everyone concerned.

This season has seen the Magners League grow in stature, with the introduction of the end of season play-offs injecting a real sense of excitement and momentum amongst the media, supporters and all 10 teams involved. With so much still up for grabs going into the final weekend of fixtures, Round 18 should be an eagerly awaited showcase for the competition. However, we believe that the confusion and uncertainty surrounding this fixture is having a negative effect on the integrity and reputation of the competition, and have made the strongest possible representations to the Celtic League regards the matter.