RFL criticise “inaccurate” article by Eamonn McManus

Drew Darbyshire

The Rugby Football League has criticised recent comments made by St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus towards referee Robert Hicks.

In Friday’s matchday programme for their game against Castleford, McManus slammed some of the decisions that Hicks made in the 18-4 defeat to Warrington in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

Hicks and Warrington chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick met with a Wolves supporter the week before Wembley regarding a death threat made to the match official on social media, with McManus believing it was a “publicity stunt”.

In response to McManus’ article, an RFL statement read: “The Rugby Football League is saddened by the content of the club chairman’s matchday programme column of Friday, August 30 and the matter has been referred to the RFL’s compliance team.

“Several inaccuracies were contained in the piece, including concerning the timeline of the death threat to an official’s family and subsequent work with the police.

“It is a serious misreading of the situation to refer to a request by ITV for a brief news interview [concerning the threat made a month earlier] as some form of contrived stunt.

“Match officials are at the centre of our sport, at all levels. Everyone in the sport appreciates that they are vital. Our match officials are hardworking, impartial, and deserving of respect and support. Theirs is a difficult job and without them there is no sport.”

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