Widnes fined for crowd disturbances


Published: Tuesday 25th November 2014 by The News Editor

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An independent tribunal has fined Widnes £20,000 after finding them guilty of serious breaches of Rugby Football League operational rules.

Widnes have been found to be in breach of rules D1.8c (improper conduct) and D1.10b (safety/misconduct of spectators) after crowd disturbances marred their Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to Castleford at Leigh on August 10.

Sections of the Widnes support entered the field while the head was removed from Castleford’s mascot and kicked away. One female spectator was caught up in the chaos and sprained an ankle.

An RFL statement said: “(Clubs are) Responsible to the RFL for the actions of their spectators and all persons purporting to be their supporters, and are required to use their best endeavours to take all precautions to ensure that their spectators and all persons purporting to be their supporters do not threaten, abuse or assault third parties.”

It added: “Clubs must also ensure that their spectators, or people purporting to be their supporters, do not damage property, or invade the pitch, or pitch surrounds, or throw missiles on the pitch, or act in a disorderly or improper manner before, during or after the conclusion of matches.”

Widnes’ fine is split between £10,000 now with the other half suspended until the end of the 2015 season. They also have to pay £4,000 costs.

The tribunal said it acknowledged Widnes’ co-operation with RFL but that “the sanction should reflect the seriousness of the incidents”.

A further statement from the RFL said that it and Widnes were continuing to investigate the trouble and that a number of people had been arrested and charged.

The statement added that the two had accepted the punishment meted out.

RFL chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer said: “The nature of the disorder at the Widnes Vikings v Castleford Tigers semi-final was both shocking and totally unacceptable.

“Those responsible brought great shame on Widnes Vikings, the sport and its most historic competition, the rugby league Challenge Cup, and the tribunal’s sanction reflects that.

“I am sure that the fine would have been significantly greater but for the response of Widnes Vikings, whose actions since the semi-final have been exemplary. I would like to thank the club for its full co-operation and response to what was a dark day for everyone.”

Widnes chief executive James Rule added: ” As a club we apologise once again for the events that unfolded at Leigh Sports Village.

“We will continue to work with the Police, the RFL and Halton Borough Council to implement banning orders to all involved.

“We must not lose sight of the hard work and incredible progress we made in 2014 which ultimately led to us being named Super League Club of the Year at the Man of Steel awards.”

Published: Tuesday 25th November 2014 by The News Editor

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