Leigh react angrily to RFL fine

Leigh Centurions have reacted angrily to the news this week that they had been hit with £2000 fine by the RFL.

They have also expressed annoyance at the way the story has been reported in some sections of the media.

A statement on the club’s official website reads:

“It is always disappointing when our club receives negative press especially when we work so hard to generate good press, not only for ourselves but the RFL and the game as a whole.

“The press release made by the RFL is limited in information and in this day and age people will inevitably speculate and draw their own conclusions.

“The main points of the RFL press release read as follows:

Leigh Centurions have been fined £2,000 for misconduct following an incident at the end of the Kingstone Press Championship Grand Final played at Leeds on October 5, 2014.

“Leigh were found guilty of engaging in conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game after a Doping Control Officer was verbally abused whilst conducting a post-match test on a Leigh player.

“The matter was initially dealt with as minor misconduct by the RFL Compliance Manager, who handed down a £2,000 fine, half of which is suspended until the end of the 2015 season.

“The club appealed the sanction at an independent Operational Rules Tribunal, which upheld the decision.”

Centurions head of rugby Mike Beaumont also further clarified his club’s stance, again speaking to the club’s official website.

“I have tried to stay out of this in the public domain but drew the line yesterday when an article was published on a prominent rugby league website, not connected with the RFL, read by many people in the game,” he said.

“This article has since been withdrawn following a complaint by the Club and the author has issued a sincere apology.

“Headlined ‘Leigh Centurions hit with misconduct fine’ alongside an unacknowledged copy of the RFL statement the article was illustrated with a photograph of our player Ryan Brierley, inferring that Ryan had been guilty of misconduct.

“This is partly as a result of the original release which states as above ‘a Doping Control Officer was verbally abused whilst conducting a post-match test on a Leigh player’.

“It does not state that a Leigh player verbally abused the Doping Control Officer but anyone reading this quickly might not be aware of that.

“I therefore feel it is necessary to report the facts of the matter. Ryan is a model citizen who is clean living and works exceptionally hard in the community, doing work for charity, helping others and raising the profile of the game.

“He is a player that children look up to and aspire to be. He leads by example and is a great role model for our club.

“After the Grand Final, Ryan and Jonny Walker were selected for testing, along with two Featherstone players. Ryan and Jonny fully complied with the requirements of the DCO and there were no issues arising from their samples, documenting the fact they are clean players.

“Whilst we fully understand and support the need for testing in the sport it is naturally frustrating and disappointing when a player’s greatest hour is taken away from them and they are unable to join in with celebrations with their team-mates.

“The whole of our team were on the bus awaiting departure to a party that had been organised but Ryan was still being held by the DCO.

“He had provided a blood sample and a urine sample but was unable to provide enough urine to meet the requirements of the DCO.

“The DCO was spoken to by a member of the coaching team and a number of alternatives were suggested to him including accompanying Ryan on the bus so we could leave as the coach driver was insisting we left as his hours were nearly up.

“The DCO declined to agree to or offer any further alternatives and it was now becoming very late and the driver had to leave without Ryan.

“We made alternative arrangements for Ryan to return to Leigh. The boys were extremely disappointed to leave without one of their players but nonetheless were in good spirits as would be expected after winning a final.

“During the journey a former player and current employee of mine who had been at the game entertaining my biggest client answered a call on my phone from Ryan. Ryan’s phone however was being used by the DCO to inform me that Ryan had now completed the test.

“He was abusive to the DCO which he apologised for once he realised it was actually a DCO he had spoken to. He had first thought it was one of the lads with Ryan’s phone having a laugh which is common banter amongst players.

“Whilst we would in no way condone any individual for speaking out of turn to anyone, let alone a DCO we did not feel we should be held accountable for a person in no way connected with the club just because he was travelling back on the team bus.

“The independent tribunal, however, ruled that as a club we were responsible for his actions. We have accepted the ruling, learned lessons and moved on.

“At no time was there any allegation or suggestion of a lack of cooperation from Ryan. Indeed, to the contrary, the DCO complimented him on how he handled the situation.

“I trust this now clears up the matter and allows Ryan and the Club to concentrate on the important job in hand this season.”

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