No disciplinary action for Ralph Rimmer following Fiji comments

James Gordon
Ralph Rimmer

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer will face no formal disciplinary action following an investigation in to comments made during an Awards Dinner last month.

There had been calls for Rimmer’s removal from the governing body after he was forced to apologise for comments made in reference to Fiji and the World Cup at the event at Headingley.

The dinner was filmed and published later on the Our League app, with the clip of Rimmer’s comments widely shared and commented upon.

He is due to leave the RFL at the end of the year after tendering his resignation last month.

An RFL statement said in full: “As previously confirmed by the RFL, following receipt of a complaint in relation to comments made by the CEO, Ralph Rimmer, at the Championship and League One Awards Dinner on September 26, relevant procedures have been followed under the Directors’ Code of Conduct, led by the RFL Chair, Simon Johnson.

“The Chair has now submitted a 21-page report to the RFL Board and to Ralph Rimmer.

“The procedures involved the gathering of information and opinion from three independent experts, in addition to a number of attendees at the dinner, and a statement from Ralph Rimmer. Views from the Fiji Rugby League and their World Cup travelling party were also sought.

“The report concluded that the language fell within the wide definition of unacceptable language as defined in the RFL’s Operational Rules, and therefore could be considered to breach the Code of Conduct.

“However it noted that the comment was taken within the context of a wider discussion of the World Cup; that any insult of the Fiji National Team or of people from Fiji or of Fijian origin or heritage was unintended; and that the Fiji National Team, the Federation and the Confederation have accepted Ralph Rimmer’s apology for the comments.

“Noting the agreement of all consulted that there was no intent in the use of the unacceptable language; that a fulsome apology was issued and accepted; and taking into account relevant and applicable precedent, from other sports and previous RFL compliance investigations, the decision of the Chair is that no formal disciplinary action is appropriate – the matter will be dealt with through education, to be conducted during the three months before Ralph Rimmer’s previously announced departure from the RFL at the end of the year.”

It’s the second statement in as many days made by the RFL following complaints of racist comments.

An interview conducted by Eddie Hemmings on behalf of Betfred with England head coach Shaun Wane was removed for comments made about Dom Young.

Hemmings said the winger Dom Young, who also qualifies to play for Jamaica, was “not English in the strict sense of the word”, despite being born and raised in Yorkshire.

That prompted an apology from Betfred on Twitter, which was quote-tweeted with a statement from the RFL.

It said: “The culture, identity and heritage of our players and staff representing England at this year’s World Cup is a source of pride for Rugby League in this country.

The Rugby League community is diverse, and we feel strongly about using the Rugby League World Cup as a platform to celebrate that diversity.”