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Club Statement RE: BARLA Cup

Club Statement



Rochdale Mayfield would like to inform all our spectators, sponsors, players, and volunteers that we have made the decision to pull out of the BARLA Cup at the semi-final stage. This decision hasn’t been made lightly and we have, numerous times, tried every effort to ensure that we could continue in what was described to us as a ‘Blue Chip event’.  

We entered the National Cup despite concerns from our NCL coaches, who were worried the additional games meant that we would lose some free dates that we would normally get and would usually use these as recovery weeks during a very demanding Premier NCL campaign. 

Despite that, after several discussions, we decided to enter the BARLA Cup competition and give it the respect it deserved by playing our strongest players and team. 

The NCL draft fixtures were released in November 2023 and Mayfield’s unchanged fixtures were confirmed in January 2024. One of the key dates was 15th June, where it showed we had drawn Lock Lane at home. This has remained unchanged since November. The BARLA Cup dates were sent out after the NCL fixtures, and this showed that the Quarter final would be 15th June and Semi-final would-be 13th July. However, we were told by BARLA ‘ everyone in the country will have that opportunity without disruptions to their respective leagues’, which was also followed by an email from the RFL regarding the BARLA Cup stating ‘ If a National Conference League team enters any Cup, then League matches take precedent’ and also ‘ there could be a conflict in dates which will need to be managed by the respective Management Groups’.  

There has already been a change of dates made by BARLA which clashed with the NWML Finals on 13th July. The semi-finals have now been brought forward to 15th June. We understand that this was always a BARLA Cup date. However, it clashes with our main priority, which is the NCL fixtures. After many messages being sent to an array of people associated with BARLA, and getting very minimal support back, we were responded with ‘several clubs have fielded two teams in the event the dates clashed with fixtures’.  

We entered Mayfield’s NCL team into the competition. By potentially fielding our NWML team there would no doubt there would be a huge swing in standard. This is totally unfair on our NCL players and staff and also our NWML players and staff, and not forgetting the opposition clubs we have previously played against. It would obviously have a massive impact on the game and in turn probably the result. 

The final is not until 24th/25th August, and we requested that we play the semi-final on another date that both teams agreed with. This was shut down by BARLA immediately. We feel it is very unreasonable to suggest we cannot play another date that will allow both teams to play their strongest teams, maintaining the integrity of the competition and quite frankly have not been given any explanation as to why, and the final not being held for another 11 weeks.   

The cost of competing in the BARLA Cup has financially impacted us, as well as our travelling opposition clubs. We have raised this with BARLA too, yet again, had no response or acknowledgement.  

We have asked questions, looked for support and requested advice for several weeks regarding this clash of dates. We asked them to look at a solution that allows the competition to be completed without ambiguity.  This sadly, has fell on deaf ears at BARLA and was told after just two emails that ‘there will be no further correspondence’. 

This is not only a disappointing outcome for Rochdale Mayfield, but a disappointing outlook on the future of the BARLA Cup.  

Rochdale Mayfield wishes good luck to the final 3 teams in the competition. 

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