SWINDON ROBINS: Co-promoter against plans for two No 1s
6:00am Friday 16th November 2012 in By Andy Warren, Deputy sports editor, firstname.lastname@example.org, @AndyWarren_
A HOTLY-DEBATED issue at this weekend’s AGM will be whether or not Elite League clubs should be able to have two riders sharing the number one berth.
The idea has been discussed at length since it was suggested by Poole midway through last season, and has received mixed reviews.
Robins co-promoter Gary Patchett does not support the idea, and believes it is in the league’s interest as a whole to disregard it.
“The calls for riders to be able to share always come from one or two clubs who see an advantage in it for themselves, but unless there are enough clubs for everyone you can’t favour a small minority,” he said.
“There are not 20 riders there capable of sharing a number one spot, and the ones who want to will be the Grand Prix riders who will all want to miss the same meetings.
“We operate a points limit to handicap all our teams so they are similar, and we need to try and keep them equal from one to seven as far as possible.
“That is why we had the eight-point rule, meaning every team had a rider who was top of the averages from the previous season.
“We all have to take a step back for once and look at what is the greater good, and not be self-interested all the time.”
With a points limit of 42.5 now an open secret, another key issue is the number of teams making up the league, with Leicester rumoured to be interested in making the step up to Elite League level.
“I don’t think the league necessarily needs more teams, but in an ideal world we would have enough teams so that we would only have to do one home and one away meeting against each,” Patchett said.
“More teams means less television money for us, and that is very important when we are doing our own budgets.
“If there are more teams in the league it would mean more meetings, unless we got to the stage where we only need one home and one away, so I suppose we have too many and not enough.
“Eight would be ideal for two home and two away, but in an ideal world it would be 14 or 15 because then we could do one home and one away.”
Patchett is also expecting an intense debate over the future of the Knockout Cup, which attracted great criticism at the end of last season.
“There will be some debate over the Knockout Cup and the supporters want to watch meaningful speedway instead of challenge matches, while we will also be in something new in the European competition,” he said.
“The supporters have told us by the number who come that they do not rate the cup and prefer league speedway, and it comes back to the cost issue because ours are the same no matter what competition it is.
“If it is not economic to run it won’t be run.”
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