A rugby club has been forced to apologize after revealing they are due to host a VIP dinner with Nigel Farage.
Preston Grasshoppers RFC has now canceled the charity event, billed as “An Evening with Nigel Farage: The Man Is Not the Myth” after the anger of supporters and club members.
One fan even cut his membership cards while an advisor who supports the club said he “couldn’t believe” they “were taking someone as controversial as Nigel Farage”.
The club has since canceled the event, which was supposed to raise funds for the Sainte-Catherine Hospice, and said LancsLive “We are an inclusive club, and that was not the right thing for us”.
In a statement, the club apologized for posting the event and said it had decided to cancel the booking “following comments from our members and wider comments on social media.”
Club general manager Richard Ellis said he believed it was the “right decision” to cancel the event.
Preston Grasshoppers RFC was forced to apologize and has now canceled a charity event billed as “An Evening With Nigel Farage: The Man Is Not The Myth” after anger from supporters and club members
Advertising for the event appeared on the club’s website and was scheduled to take place on December 21.
He said he offered a “fascinating look into the life, times, past and career of a truly revolutionary politician,” adding: “It’s not about his politics, it’s about about his background, his clash with the establishment, his three-time cheating, his love of the sport, his insight and his friendship.
According to the now-suppressed ad, the proceeds were to go to St. Catherine’s Hospice, with packages of tables of ten offering three-course dinners available for Â£ 750.
It was deleted following a backlash on social media and the club have since posted an update apologizing for hosting the event.
Councilor John Potter, Preston Town Councilor for Cadley Ward and Lancashire County Councilor for Preston West, is a supporter of the club and told LancsLive: âIt was supposed to be a private function, but I think it was It’s a risk, facing someone who divides like Nigel Farage.
âI couldn’t believe they made this decision.
âThe event is now canceled, which I’m happy with.
âI was not the first person to have seen it; a few people were cutting out their membership cards, and I thought “what is this?”
âThen I heard other reports on the junior sections – that the parents had decided not to take their kids to practice that morning.
âIf you have people with very strong opinions in your club, you should expect some people to be very upset, it’s their freedom to take their money.
âFarage is a horrible, horrible person, and the only power I had was to withdraw my support for the club.
“I’m a member of the club, it’s an amazing club and does a lot of brilliant things for the community, but all I could do was withdraw my membership and my support for the club.”
After posting an announcement for the event online, Hussein Khambalia asked the club how he could “justify giving this fanatic a platform in what is supposed to be an inclusive community rugby club.”
He added: “You are supposed to help increase participation in rugby from all communities and from all walks of life, without inviting racists to lecture us.”
Meanwhile, Steve Tiernan posted on Twitter a photo of two membership cards having been cut in half.
Following a phone call about what had happened, and since the event had been canceled, Steve had now decided to continue supporting the club, adding that the decision was “an honest mistake”.
But he added: “The decision was always going to have that backlash.
“For the reputation of the club, I don’t think it matched the brilliant philosophy of an incredible club like Preston Grasshoppers.”
In a statement posted on its website, Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Football Club said: âThe club have made a private reservation with Nigel Farage as a speaker at a dinner scheduled for December 21, 2021.
âThe club is not the organizer of the event, but a post has been posted on our website to publicize the event.
âIt gave the impression that we are the promoters of the event.
âFollowing comments from our members and wider comments on social media, the club made the decision to cancel the reservation.
âWe apologize for posting the event on the website and giving the impression that we are the promoters of the event or support political views.
“The club reiterates that we do not support or align with any political party or organization.”
Mr Ellis added: “We recognize that we have probably taken a wrong turn.
âThe big problem is that we are neutral, we do not support any political party or organization.
“We are an inclusive club, and that was not the right thing for us.”