BRITISH Speedway bosses have confirmed this morning the Coventry Bees speedway team will not be competing in this year’s SGB Premiership.
The shocking news was revealed just weeks after it was said the Bees would be competing at Leicester’s Beaumont Park stadium when a deal couldn’t be reached for the world-famous team to compete at their Brandon home.
Fans of the Bees have been assured on three occasions by the sport’s governing body that the Bees would be competing in this year’s league.
An initial one-year lease, with the option of a two-year extension, for the Bees to remain at Brandon was completed in July following talks facilitated by Rugby Borough Council leader Coun Michael Stokes.
A dispute over fixtures and fittings at Brandon – which resulted in the removal of various stadium assets including floodlights, grandstand seating and shale – led to further doubt in December.
A further statement was released later that month confirming Bees’ future at Brandon.
However more doubt plagued the Bees in January, and a last-minute deal was agreed on January 29 for the club to ground-share with Leicester for the 2017 SGB Premiership season.
Riders have taken to social media to voice their frustration – and one team member confirmed to The Observer no riders had been told about this morning’s announcement before it was made.
Lewis Kerr tweeted: “Thanks for informing us. My suit needs to be paid for too.”
Danish international Kenneth Bjerre replied to the Bees Twitter announcement stating: “Who’s going to pay for the suits now?”
A statement on SpeedwayGB this morning read: “With deep regret the British Speedway Promoters’ Association announce Coventry Bees will not be competing in the 2017 SGB Premiership and their licence has been put on ice.
“Due to well documented issues with their former Brandon Stadium home, the Bees only have an agreement in place to run a handful of meetings at Leicester.
“The club, therefore, are not in a position to satisfy the Association that they can fulfil a full season of league racing with no guarantee of returning to Brandon.
“In addition there have been developments in the past 10-days where financial support for the Coventry promotion has changed, again meaning the Association are not satisfied they can fulfil a full season.
“We feel extremely sad for the Bees riders, fans and officials but we believe this decision has been made in the best interests of the sport.
“We sincerely hope circumstances can improve for Coventry during the course of this year which will enable them to return to the track in the 2018 season.”