Wigan forward Tony Clubb has been given an eight-match ban for using ‘unacceptable language based on national or ethnic origin’, the Rugby Football League has announced.
The offence arose from a claim by Hull second-rower Andre Savelio that Clubb called him a “stupid Polynesian c***” during the Super League meeting between the sides last Thursday.
Clubb, 33, was suspended by his club a day later as they launched a joint investigation with Hull and, after being charged by the RFL’s match review panel with a Grade F offence, on Tuesday he appeared in front of an independent operational rules tribunal which found him guilty.
The ban is the minimum normally applied for Grade F offences and included mitigating circumstances after the tribunal considered submissions from both players and clubs as well as character references and broadcast footage.
His Honour Judge Guy Kearl QC, who chaired the hearing, said: “We have considered the evidence of both players and the circumstances surrounding the allegation and find that we are reasonably satisfied, taking into account the seriousness of the charge, that the words were said, albeit in the heat of the moment, but nevertheless were said.
“They do constitute unacceptable language based on (a player’s) racial and ethnic origin and therefore we find that this was serious misconduct which has brought the game into disrepute.
“On the other hand we have considered the character references placed before us by Wigan Warriors from those who know (Tony Clubb) well at the club.
“We do not find that he is a racist, simply that on this occasion he used unacceptable language in the heat of the moment.
“We have therefore reduced the penalty to take account of his character and good disciplinary record to a suspension for eight matches and a £500 fine.”