Widnes Vikings have been fined £20,000, after an independent tribunal found them guilty of serious breaches of RFL Operational Rules, in relation to incidents at the Challenge Cup semi-final at Leigh Sports Village this year.
The club’s defeat to Castleford Tigers that day was marked by supporter misbehaviour, including a pitch invasion.
Widnes were found to be in breach of Operational Rule D1.8c (improper conduct), D1.10b (safety/misconduct of spectators) and the RFL’s Respect Policy.
Rule D1.10b states that clubs are: “Responsible to the RFL for the actions of their spectators and all persons purporting to be their supporters, and are required to use their best endeavours to take all precautions to ensure that their spectators and all persons purporting to be their supporters do not threaten, abuse or assault third parties.”
Clubs must also ensure that: “Their spectators, or people purporting to be their supporters, do not damage property, or invade the pitch, or pitch surrounds, or throw missiles on the pitch, or act in a disorderly or improper manner before, during or after the conclusion of matches.”
The Vikings have been ordered to pay £10,000 immediately. A further £10,000 has been suspended until the end of the 2015 season. The tribunal also ordered the club to pay £4,000 costs.
The tribunal acknowledged the full cooperation of the club with the inquiry, but felt that the serious nature of the incidents in queestions demanded an appropriate sanction.