Following the very disappointing cancellation of the Vectis Festival on Sunday due to some very real player safety concerns it is appropriate for us to comment as a Club as to the current situation and the stance Alton RFC are taking.
We have received a full and unreserved apology from Vectis RFC, which we have accepted. We have also received an offer to refund the entry fees, which as a Club we have declined. After much open and honest communication with the Chair of Vectis RFC it is clear that they are at the start of a thorough investigation in to the mistakes in the planning combined with some uncontrollable circumstances that lead to this regrettable situation, and they will keep us updated on any progress in this area. However the reason behind us deciding to decline the refund is simple. As a Club Vectis RFC incur significant costs every season in travelling to the mainland for fixtures, the festival is a way of subsidising some of this additional cost. Vectis RFC is THE age grade Club on the Island which develops players for the three senior clubs, they do an admirable job in their delivery and for many many years have run a festival that is, not only a highlight of, but a fitting end to the junior rugby season. The events of last Sunday leave Vectis with the very real threat of closure, something that would be hugely detrimental to the future of rugby on the Isle of Wight, as well as to Hampshire Rugby and its member clubs and rugby as a whole. A refund of any description would only punish the junior players who definitely are not at fault in any way.
We value our close relationship with Vectis very highly and will stand by them. It is our intention to enter sides in the Festival next season and to help it regain its much deserved outstanding reputation as an event. We are extremely confident that Vectis will complete a thorough investigation in to the multiple reasons, both within and outside of their control, that lead to the cancellation, and they will learn from this to deliver an outstanding festival as we know they can in the 2019/2020 season.