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Official Reaction to Final Fixture Switch

4th May 2004

Chief executive Robert Norster has issued an official statement following the decision by S4C to rearrange the Blues' final home game of the season to a Thursday evening, 13 May.

The rearrangement of our final home game against the Scottish side has caused consternation in some quarters. I fully understand the disappointment among supporters that we are now playing that match on a Thursday evening. It is not something that we wanted as arrangements were well in hand for a Friday night match on the eve of the Rugby League Cup Final. Early last week the broadcasters chose this match for live television coverage. As BBC2 Wales had already chosen Scarlets v Ulster for their featured match on the Friday, and as ours was the only other game in Wales that weekend, S4C invoked their right to cover the Edinburgh match. Unfortunately, they insisted on the Thursday rather than the only other slot on Sunday afternoon. The latter would have been the lesser of two evils. I can assure you that we made the strongest representations to prevent the choice of Thursday, not least because it gives an advantage to other Welsh regions if Heineken Cup qualification is still undecided at the start of this final round of matches.

I have also heard that some supporters are under the impression that the game is being played on the Thursday because there will be hospitality marquees on our pitch the following day. Nothing could be further from the truth. So for now, I can only apologise to you all for any inconvenience caused at this late stage of the season. The issue of live television coverage and its effect on kick-off times has been an emotive one and all sides are continuing in their efforts to achieve a delicate balance in the future. The broadcasting contract is a crucial factor in the financial state of the game in Wales but so is the goodwill and support of those who purchase season tickets or simply pay at the gate week-by-week.