Widnes chief promises banning orders for hooligans

Widnes CEO James Rules has accepted the decision of an independent tribunal to fine his club £20,000 for the disorder at this year’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Castleford.

He has promised that his club will continue to work with law enforcement authorities to make sure that all perpetrators are punished, and banned from the club.

“As a club we apologise once again for the events that unfolded at Leigh Sports Village,” said Rule.

“We will continue to work with the Police, the RFL and Halton Borough Council to implement banning orders to all involved.

“Whilst we accept the Tribunal’s ruling and recognise our responsibilities as to the behaviour of our fans, it is important for us to recognise that the acts were not representative of our true supporters and the spirit of Widnes Vikings.

“We must not lose sight of the hard work and incredible progress we made in 2014 which ultimately led to us being named Super League Club of the Year at the Man of Steel awards.

“All our stakeholders were integral in the club receiving this prestigious accolade and we will remain united as ‘One Club’ as we prepare for the 2015 season.”

Some offenders have already been arrested and charged. The RFL has also confirmed that they have produced a report which has been handed to Greater Manchester Police, as investigations continue.

“The nature of the disorder at the Widnes Vikings v Castleford Tigers semi-final was both shocking and totally unacceptable,” RFL chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer said.

“Those responsible brought great shame on Widnes Vikings, the sport and its most historic competition, the Rugby League Challenge Cup, and the Tribunal’s sanction reflects that.

“I am sure that the fine would have been significantly greater but for the response of Widnes Vikings, whose actions since the semi-final have been exemplary.

“I would like to thank the club for its full cooperation and response to what was a dark day for everyone.

“We will continue to do everything in our power to maintain Rugby League’s reputation as a sport which is safe, friendly and welcoming to all.”

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