The off-field turmoil at Championship side Whitehaven has taken a further ugly twist after worrying claims were made by their departed directors.
Allegations of bullying, harassment, intimidation, threatening behaviour and assault have been made by eight now former club directors, who have resigned in recent weeks.
A fall out in the board room triggered the resignation of popular chairman Tom Todd, and he is one of the eight individuals to have issued a joint statement explaining their position.
The statement read: “A rift within the Board about which direction the club should be moving in has led to eight Directors from the 12 man board tendering their resignations, as their positions became untenable and the situation could not be reconciled.
“Over the past few months, several directors, staff and volunteers have had to endure unacceptable behaviour from the remaining Board members including alleged bullying, harassment, intimidation, threatening behaviour and both physical and verbal assaults. This has led to adverse impacts being placed on the above mentioned and their families mental health and well-being.
“The Board has no powers to expel or discipline members of the Board and those affected have had no option other than to remove themselves from their positions at the Club and ultimately resign.
“The eight Directors who have resigned are all lifelong Haven fans and some have been involved in the Club for many decades.
“However no one should be subjected to the behaviour that has taken place and it is an extremely sad time that they have been forced to relinquish their positions on the Board, to hopefully ensure no long term harm will be done to a Club that ultimately everyone wants to see thrive and be successful both on and off the pitch.
“As Haven fans we wish the Club every success going forward.”
The severity of the fall out saw the club announce last week that its bar would be closed for the game against Batley, although that was later rectified at the eleventh hour.
The club’s head of communications has since resigned his position, while there is no reference to any of the departures on the club’s official website.
The club responded in a statement: “The Board of Directors of Whitehaven RLFC were disappointed to read press articles this morning containing alleged allegations.
“The club are understandably taking legal advice on the matter and as such cannot make any further comment on the details of the release.”
Whitehaven are currently 12th in the Championship, with two wins and a draw from nine games so far. They were promoted as League 1 champions in 2019.