Stankevitch blasts RFL charge

Rochdale head coach John Stankevitch has hit out at the RFL after he was handed a £1,000 fine for allegedly abusing a referee.

The former St Helens and Widnes forward was found guilty by an RFL Tribunal of verbally abbusing a match official during their Northern Rail Cup match against Keighley in February.

In a statement, Stankevitch said: “I am absolutely livid that on arriving home from work today, I was informed of the ‘breaking news’ that I have been fined £1000 for apparently verbally abusing a referee. Well, I’m sorry, but I’m not prepared to have my character stained by such a press release and I feel that I have every right to protect myself and give my own accurate thoughts on this.

“This sort of negative press release which has been delivered by the RFL, not only calls into question my temperament as a Head Coach, but also seriously jeopardises my current position and that of any future employment and I feel that I have every right to protect myself.

“I am absolutely disgusted at the findings of the disciplinary committee and I stress in the strongest possible way that I am not guilty of the charges that have been placed upon me.

“Video footage could find no evidence of such abuse, and the committee relied of the contradictory statements of the officials to find me guilty.

“I do a tremendous amount of positive work in Rochdale, with amateur clubs, with local players and I have a very positive reputation I believe, and to be charged with something that I am not guilty of, seriously questions my faith in decision makers within our sport.”

The RFL’s statement said that Stankevitch was deemed to be guilty of improper conduct and a breach of the sport’s Respect Policy which states that a coach should never engage in public criticism of officials and should conduct himself at all times and in all situations in a manner that demonstrates leadership, respect for Rugby League and respect for all those that are involved in the game.

The Tribunal suspended £500 of the £1,000 fine until the end of the 2013 season but ordered Stankevitch to surrender a further £250 which had been suspended from a previous misconduct charge.

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