‘ Bosses should be applauded’
Speedway is supposed to be a professionalsportbutitisagain threatening to descend into a soapopera. And Panthers, for the second time in three years, are caught up right in the middle of thelatestpolitics- ladenspat. In 2010 itwas undoubtedly their own doing as they boldly took on the whole speedway system. Turn the clock forward to this winter and they find themselves fighting their corner again. This time they are the club on the back- foot though and they should be applauded for their stance regarding three of theirsought- afterridingassets. They assure us they are not attemptingtopreventanyofthe central characters in the current debacle - Niels Kristian Iversen, Troy Batchelor and Hans Andersen, who are all wanted elsewhere - from riding inBritish speedway. Theyaremerelystandingup forwhat they feel is right andif that means playing hard- ball, thenso be it. The end result may well go against them and all three riders could end up out on loan again ( Iversen at King’s Lynn, the other pair at Swindon), but Panthers are clearly not about to bewalked all over by riders, other clubsor eventhegoverning body. Plenty will support their actions in tryingtoensurethey getwhat is right for their club. Many others willnot. Theonethingalmosteveryone will agree on is that the asset systemin British speedway is out- datedandflawed. No such thing exists in the other major speedway nations suchasPoland and Sweden. There, as in other sports, riders simply agree a deal with aclubforagivenlengthoftime. There are plenty of people whothinkitshouldbescrapped hereaswell. Sadlyitisnotquite as easy as that. Axe it and plenty of clubs will be massively out of pocket as they see their stables of riders whisked away. They won’t stand for that. Keep it and things could continue to get ugly as riders attempt to secure team spots - and clubs with few assets of their own will always be willing to take them. That’s exactlywherewe are now. We’llprobablybetherenext winter too. And the one after that . . .