STEELERS’ owner Tony Smith has made himself unpopular in his own club by not pressing for a longer suspension for Nottingham Kelsey Wilson following the Panthers’ man’s slash on Sheffield’s Simon Ferguson.
Wilson was banned for three games but Sheffield coach Ryan Finnerty thought that was nowhere near strict enough.
Smith, who is also Elite League, chairman has authority to invoke a rule where a panel of three re-investigate the incident to determine whether the initial punishment was fair.
Nottingham media have implied Smith may have used his position to support extra discipline against Wilson.
But Smith said: “There are insinuations that we campaigned for a bigger suspension. As a club we certainly felt the suspension should have been longer, in fact most people in the sport agreed that the three games given was too lenient. I’m sure that (re-investigation) would have seen an increase in the games given to Wilson.
“I was in a difficult situation (as League chairman) and there were times I felt I had let one of my players down by not protecting him more” said Smith
“Many at my club pushed me hard to do this as they felt so strongly about the attack on Ferguson.
“Because the incident involved one of my own players and I wanted to stay away from accusations of any involvement or bias I declined and stood behind the League’s disciplinary officer. It didn’t make me to popular at my club but I thought it was the right decision for the league. I stayed at arms length. We are being accused of meddling which is out of order and 100% untrue.”