Featherstone Rovers chiefs say they've been 'vindicated' after club escapes further punishment over alleged Covid breach

Featherstone Rovers' chairman and chief executive say they've been "vindicated" after the rugby league club escaped a possible ban on selling alcohol at their home ground, over claims it had broken Covid rules.

The club has been spared a possible ban on selling alcohol at the Millennium Stadium.

A Wakefield Council committee decided not to suspend the Championship side's licence to sell alcohol on Tuesday, despite a request from the police to do so.

It follows an alleged five-hour drinking "session" taking place in the clubhouse at Rovers' Millennium Stadium following a Challenge Cup game in March.

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Rovers player Brett Ferres was subsequently banned and fined by the Rugby Football League (RFL) following the incident, after being identified in a social media post about the gathering.

At a licensing hearing, the club accepted the gathering had taken place, but strongly denied police suggestions they'd been "obstructive" during the investigations that followed.

Speaking after the hearing, club chairman Mark Campbell said: "I'm glad the councillors have come out in support of us.

"As a club and a business, we take all our responsibilities seriously.

"We're pleased it's all over because it's dragged on and on.

"It's cost everyone time, effort and money, notwithstanding taxpayers' money."

Mr Campbell said the club had been adhering to the government's health and safety guidelines regarding staff welfare.

He'd told the hearing that the bar was a place where players could eat, drink and relax after a game.

Club chief executive Martin Vickers, also speaking after the hearing, said: "We've always felt right from the outset that we've given the authorities full co-operation and today's been a vindication of that.

"We're glad the panel's seen through this suggestion we were unco-operative, which was absolutely untrue.

"Today's a vindication of how the club always professionally deals with such matters."

Mr Campbell had told the hearing that he had sat in the clubhouse watching a Leeds Rhinos vs Wakefield Trinity game on telly with a crate of beer he'd got from his office, before other staff congregated around him.

Asked afterwards if he any regrets about the incident, he replied: "Absolutely. I wish I'd gone home and and watched the Leeds-Wakefield game at home.

"Would I do things differently? Absolutely.

"But at the time I thought we were using welfare facilities on our own premises, in line with the government's own Health and Safety Executive guidelines."

Local Democracy Reporting Service