Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan should resign, says Andrew Chalmers

Drew Darbyshire

Bradford chairman Andrew Chalmers believes Ian Lenagan should step down from his position as chairman of Wigan following the club’s salary cap breach.

It was revealed last week that Super League champions Wigan have been deducted two points and fined £5,000 for a salary cap breach dating back to 2017.

The Warriors have confirmed that they will appeal the ruling.

Speaking last week, Lenagan said: “Throughout this process, Wigan has been fully co-operative and transparent with no suggestion of concealment or deception and acceptance formally of the breach.

“This is not an integrity or dishonesty issue, purely an administrative error by a new financial team in an exceptionally busy and disruptive circumstance.

“This breach clearly did not affect the competitive balance of the competition in 2017 yet the immediate deduction of two-points does affect the competitive balance of the competition in 2019.

“I take full responsibility for an admitted breach by Wigan and apologise unreservedly for the error and accept a fine is justified.

“However, in my experience of working in sport and sports governance, a points deduction is the last resort as a sanction for a significant level of breach.

“I am surprised that Wigan has been handed down a points-deduction sanction for such a marginal offence. Wigan will appeal against that aspect of the penalty.”

But Chalmers has responded to Lenagan and even said his opposite number should resign from his role as the club’s chairman.

Writing in his column in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus, Chalmers said: “Surely it’s a pretty straightforward black and white issue; you either did or you didn’t break the rules of the competition?

“This is a clear attempt to minimise the adverse PR associated with what some old-fashioned folk would simply call cheating.

“I know, from our own salary-cap returns, that they are based on honesty and self-declaration. I am not sure how you can innocently under-report costs.

“The average man in the street might conclude its either wilful dishonesty, or at the very least, sheer incompetence. Apparently, chairman Lenagan is taking personal responsibility for it, which is right and proper, and for which he deserves respect. He should now do the honourable thing and resign.

“I suspect there will be little sympathy around the rugby league for Lenagan’s plight.

“There is too much contempt and bad feeling for the divisive activities of the last 12 months, and some people will find it deliciously ironic that the man who was roundly at the centre of this division has been unmasked so royally.”