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THE ANDY WARREN COLUMN: Time to write an angry letter over Troy debacle
6:00am Wednesday 20th March 2013 in Sport
I APOLOGISE for going over old ground again, but the whole debacle surrounding Troy Batchelor’s return to Swindon still makes me angry.
In terms of who was in the wrong and what the decision should have been, I don’t want to get involved as my personal opinion doesn’t matter, but the BSPA did get involved and apparently they made a decision on it.
But what that decision actually was we will seemingly never know, although Peterborough continue to be convinced it was declared the Australian could only move on a full transfer.
Batchelor is now back at Blunsdon on loan, as Swindon believed should have been the case all along, and the wait to find out if the Robins’ 1-7 would be approved appeared to come to an end yesterday when a complete list of Elite League teams was sent round, with the 25-year-old included.
However, on contacting the BSPA I was told these teams were not yet ratified.
That is as much communication as the sport’s governing body in the country have offered during a dispute which lasted an entire winter, with constant whispers and claims and counter claims pulling the name of speedway through the mud.
It wasn’t just Batchelor who was caught up in all this, there were of course similar disputes with Hans Andersen and Niels-Kristian Iversen, as well as Ben Barker who was trapped in limbo between Coventry and Birmingham.
There was no official comment on any of these matters as it was left to the respective clubs to slug it out in the media, and I fear the image of speedway could be irreversibly damaged if the BSPA don’t address the way they communicate with their clubs and the fans.
To that end, I have written to the governing body in a bid to get some answers on why they choose to run the sport behind a brick wall, and to urge them to think again...
My name is Andy Warren and I am the speedway reporter for the Swindon Advertiser newspaper, as well as being a lifelong fan of the sport.
For the last four months I have been covering the transfer saga involving Troy Batchelor and his proposed loan move from Peterborough to Swindon, one which has left fans of both clubs constantly struggling to work out what was going on and who was telling the truth.
The whole fiasco has undoubtedly cast another shadow over a sport which doesn’t need the bad press and is fighting for its future, and was the latest in a long line of similar incidents which have the potential to make the sport we love appear as a laughing stock to outsiders looking in.
This letter is in no way meant to deal with the rights and wrongs of any decisions, as you are in a far better position to decide that than me, but more the way any decisions were communicated.
On the one hand the Peterborough promotion continually insisted they had been told the only way Batchelor would return to Swindon was on a full transfer, something they still maintain, while their opposite numbers at Swindon were always confident the rider would be allowed to return on loan. Both cannot be true.
This confusion meant a mini war-of-words in the media which could easily have been avoided with a published decision declaring the state of play, and would have ensured fans spent the winter talking about racing rather than off-track drama.
It was not just the fans who were confused, with promoters and management at both clubs seemingly being told different things, and it would have benefited them I'm sure if this issue had been cleared up well before the start of March.
A simple black and white decision which was made public would have made sure everyone knew where they stood, and would have given speedway a professional image at a time when it is fighting to survive.
I urge you, for the sake of the sport, to think about the way you as a body communicate with the very people who are keeping speedway alive, the fans, and ensure speedway remains an attractive proposition for generations to come.
I will let you know if and when I get a reply, but on the evidence of this winter I’m not holding my breath.