Stankevitch continues to plead innocence

John Stankevitch has continued to plead his innocence to charges handed down to him by the RFL, despite paying the subsequent fine to have his complete ban from rugby league lifted.

Stankevitch, 32, was banned from any involvement in the game last month for his refusal to pay a fine related to verbally abusing a match official following a Northern Rail Cup match earlier this year.

The Rochdale Hornets Sporting Director has stood firm over the charge, but in a statement, said he was left with no choice but to pay the fine.

He said: “I am delighted that sense has prevailed and the RFL decision to ban me from ‘involvement’ in Rugby League has been withdrawn. The last month has been extremely difficult for myself, my partner and our two young children in that I was effectively stopped from earning a wage. 

“I want to take this opportunity to make it crystal clear that I stand by my original stance, which was that I was not and am not guilty of any offence that I was originally found guilty of. However, putting my own feelings to the side and putting the welfare of my family first, I realised that it would be in my family’s best interest to move away from the disappointing situation that I have found myself in.

“I also hope that lessons are learnt from the last month and that change can be implemented with regards to the RFL disciplinary procedure which I still believe is flawed.”

Stankevitch received advice and support from Geoff Burrow, who heads up the Rugby League Players’ Association at GMB Union, and will now focus on his own business, Complete Athlete Management Solutions, as well as remaining involved with Rochdale.

The former St Helens forward also added that he believed coaches should play a part in the development of the game, working with officials to help improve their understanding of the game.

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