King’s Lynn chief Chapman hits back

King's Lynn chief Buster Chapman hit back yesterday at claims the Stars had profited from Peterborough's Elite League demise.

Chapman defended Lynn's top flight elevation amid alleged radio comments from Coventry co-promoter Allen Trump that the Stars' business model was based on targeting 'half of the Panthers' riders and a large proportion of their fan base'.

Both reigning champions Coventry and Lynn's local rivals will miss the 2011 Elite League season after failing to resolve issues with the sport's governing body (BSPA).

Chapman will lead his club – spearheaded by ex-Panthers Kenneth Bjerre and Niels Kristian-Iversen - into a new era featuring eight top flight teams, with the domestic campaign now just over a month away.

'We have been supporters of both Coventry and Peterborough returning to the Elite League in 2011,' said Chapman. 'We have actually voted in favour of two resolutions – which are documented and can be called upon in a court of law. We are therefore disgusted by these allegations which are completely fictional and in all honesty totally unprofessional.

'We would like to also point out to Mr Trump that King's Lynn has been one of the most successful clubs in the Premier League in recent years. We are keen to see how he can substantiate his claims as our own business plan clearly shows that with the addition of television rights' money and the extra sponsorship we have managed to attract we can sustain the costs of Elite League racing with just our regular fan base.

'It is also worth mentioning that we only signed two of Peterborough's former riders, which is less than half a team, and there was clearly no issue with this as their promotion were fully aware of it at the time.'

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Chapman declined to comment further on the unresolved issues between the BSPA and both clubs, but insisted Lynn had still made the right move to step up.

'Things had gone stale in the Premier League and the club needed to take this opportunity,' he said. 'Of course the dispute has cast a small shadow over what is an exceptionally exciting time for the club but once our fans hear the first roar of the engines that shadow will disappear and we can all start to get excited about watching the likes of Bjerre, Bomber 'Harris', (Chris) Holder and (Darcy) Ward on a weekly basis.'

The Stars will open their season with a curtain-raising double header against fellow newcomers Birmingham for the Elite Elevation Trophy, with the first leg at the Norfolk Arena on March 23 and the Perry Barr return 24 hours later.

Lynn will discover their first Elite League opponents within the next week after the BSPA's latest announcement they had failed to reach agreement with Coventry and Peterborough. Both parties appeared to have reached a compromise deal early in the new year despite the two clubs initiating legal proceedings.

'The BSPA is disappointed to announce that it has been unable to resolve the ongoing dispute with Coventry and Peterborough on an amicable basis,' it said in a statement. 'The BSPA made an offer to both Coventry and Peterborough on January 31 which would have seen them both resume their membership of the Elite League with immediate effect.

'The offer would also have permitted both Coventry and Peterborough to continue with their proposed legal action, including claims for compensation if they suffer any losses.

'That offer was rejected. From the point of view of the sport it is disappointing that both Coventry and Peterborough would rather walk away from participation in the 2011 Elite League than accept an open offer to resume their membership, particularly as they could have done so without prejudice to their proposed legal action.

'Given the proximity of the new season the BSPA has been left with no alternative but to finalise arrangements for the 2011 season without Coventry and Peterborough. In this regard the fixture list will be published shortly.'