BRACKNELL Bees could reach the EPIHL play-offs without legitimately qualifying, writes Dave Wright.

Representatives of 10 clubs, including Carol Miller from the Bees, met last week to discuss the financial problems being encountered within the league.

Leaders Telford and bottom side Manchester Phoenix have gone into liquidation in the past year and the remaining clubs agreed to exclude them from the play-offs.

A league statement said: “The main focus was how to deal with turmoil and unrest caused by clubs not playing within their means and having to liquidate or bankrupt a company, leaving unpaid debts to creditors and its staff whilst potentially gaining an advantage in on-ice performances.

“As a result, it was unanimously decided by all member clubs that Telford Tigers and Manchester Phoenix will not be invited to participate in the play-offs.

“We believe these punishments underline our commitment to ensure a fair competition, as well as providing a sustainable future for our sport.”

If that happened, the eight remaining sides, including second-bottom Bees would contest the play-offs. But Telford are in talks with the league to have their exclusion rescinded.

A Tigers spokesman said: “This is not within the rules of the competition, and the league has no power to unilaterally exclude a team from the play-offs. The rules expressly mandate the play-off invitations are determined by final league position.

“It is clear that the proposal is unlawful and discriminatory and breaches the agreement consented to by each league team.

“As a club, we will be using every avenue available to us, to make sure Telford Tigers participate in the end of season play-offs.”