John Stankevitch still “gobsmacked” by RFL fine

John Stankevitch has described the events which led to him being fined £1,000 by the RFL.

Stankevitch was deemed to be guilty of improper conduct and breaching the sport’s Respect policy.

However he still maintains his innocence, and only questioned the referee after seeing what he thought was a blatant knock by Sam Obst in the build up to a try against Keighley.

Stankevitch said: “This fine is a big issue for me. I feel let down by the governing body, and I think they should be supporting young British coaches.

“The findings and the outcomes from the hearing that I went to a few months back for apparently abusing a referee was absolutely disgraceful.

“I think the way it was handed was very, very poor. I wasn’t happy, and I said that at the time, especially for something I have not done and the evidence was ridiculous. There was no evidence to suggest what happened actually happened. To find me guilty was just ridiculous.”

Stankevitch approached referee George Stokes after it appeared that Sam Obst scored a try from a knock on, but says he only asked Stokes how he had come make the decision to award the try.

Stankevitch said: “The referee didn’t consult his touch judges he just awarded the try. As I was coming off the field the referee went down the tunnel.

“I just said to him ‘George, how do you give that as a try?’ and his response was ‘I don’t have to explain myself to you.’

“I said ‘I’m just asking a genuine question, can you tell me how you have come to that decision?” He said ‘I said I do not need to give you an answer why I gave that decision. If you have any problems speak to the match commissioner.’

“I said ‘Well I have got a problem because you’re not answering the question I’m asking you.’ The squabbling just continued down the touchline, but it certainly wasn’t me abusing the referee.”

Stankevitch was fined on the back of a disciplinary hearing found him guilty of abusive and aggressive behaviour towards a match official. All five match officials, the referee, two touch judges, reserve referee and match commissioner all gave statements describing what happened.

However Stankevitch expressed his disgust at the way the he was found guilty after discrepancies appeared in statement from the five match officials.

Stankevitch said: “I was interviewed and the officials gave their statement of what they thought happened and, I’m not joking you, every single one of them gave a completely different version of events even though they were no more than a metre away from each other when this alleged incident happened.

“I told them what did happen and the committee judged in their favour. I’m gobsmacked, and to be hit by a fine of £1,000, I just don’t know who they think we are. I don’t know if they think we’re millionaires.”

Stankevitch announced last week that he would be stepping down to spend more time with his young family. 

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