Bournemouth EchoSpeedway: Row rumbles on as Havelock questions BSPA statement (From Bournemouth Echo)

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Speedway: Row rumbles on as Havelock questions BSPA statement

Bournemouth Echo: ANGRY: Poole Pirates legend Gary Havelock ANGRY: Poole Pirates legend Gary Havelock

GARY Havelock has accused the British Speedway Promoters Association (BSPA) of sending out conflicting messages as the row over his farewell meeting rumbles on.

Pirates legend Havelock was left fuming when speedway chiefs moved the Elite Riders Championship to the same date as his long-standing date at Poole to accommodate broadcast partners Sky.

In a statement released on Sunday, the BSPA said that Sky “provide the association with potential schedule dates for events” and were “not to blame for the direct clash”, a stance supported by vice-chairman Jon Cook in an interview with the Daily Echo.

However, Havelock claimed that two members of speedway’s governing body – Chris van Straaten and Cook – had “blamed” their broadcast partners in telephone conversations with him over the issue.

Havelock said: “Chris van Straaten swore that it was out of the BSPA’s control and that Sky had demanded that date. Jon Cook told me the same story the next day but the statement said something completely different.

“It has started to become clear that was never the case and nobody has called me since to say otherwise.

"I would have thought after everything that has happened that they would have had the decency to be up front and tell me the whole truth.”

In response, Wolverhampton promoter van Straaten said: “On Wednesday, I told Gary that Sky had requested the meeting which the agreement allowed them to do.

“That was exactly how I understood it and the information I gave him at the time was correct.”

Cook said: “I didn’t blame Sky but did explain it was their need for the date to move from the Sunday to the Friday because they had a scheduled slot on that day.”

He added that the situation was not caused by “direct malice from the BSPA, Go Speed (commercial rights holders) or Sky.”

Meanwhile, support for Havelock’s cause continues to gather momentum with the 1992 world champion admitting to feeling “overwhelmed” by the backing.

Havelock added: “I was in such a bad place when they told me but the amount of goodwill messages I have received since has been absolutely staggering. So many people have told me to stick to my guns and not change the date.

“Several riders have got in touch to say what a disgrace it all is and it is great to have the support of my fellow professionals.”

Havelock confirmed talks were ongoing over when his meeting would take place with an announcement scheduled via a live telephone link during Poole Pirates’ quiz night on Wednesday evening.

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