Ban on rugby club coach over racial abuse

THE head coach of York City Knights has been banned from rugby league for six months after racially abusing a member of the public while in charge of a college side.

James Ratcliffe admitted bringing the game into disrepute with his behaviour following York College's match at Heckmondwike Grammar School last October.

He was involved in a verbal altercation, understood to have taken place as Ratcliffe was moving the team's minibus, and an investigation was launched following an official complaint.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He appeared in front of a Rugby Football League tribunal and was given a six-month suspension after he was found to have breached operational rules.

Having pleaded guilty before the hearing, and already banned from coaching the student side, Ratcliffe also tendered his resignation from his position as Service Area Co-ordinator for North Yorkshire.

Two months of the ban were imposed with immediate effect with the remaining four suspended on condition he attends two equality and diversity education courses and does not re-offend in the next 12 months.

The ruling comes just days before York start their new season with a Northern Rail Cup game at Rochdale.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Assistant coach Chris Thorman has been placed in temporary charge until Ratcliffe's ban ends on March 25.

During Ratcliffe's previous role as Knights director of rugby, he was also suspended by York last July after "over-indulging" while attending a Leeds Rhinos v Bradford Bulls match.

Following this latest episode, a club statement read: "The sanction has been accepted by the club. We now consider the matter closed."

An RFL spokesman said Ratcliffe was found guilty of breaching the game's equity statement, respect policy and coaches' code of conduct.