Castleford Tigers and Huddersfield Giants fined for breaches of RFL operational rules

Castleford Tigers and Huddersfield Giants have been fined for breaches of the Rugby Football League's operational rules.

FINED: Castleford Tigers have been issued with a fine by the RFL. Picture: Allan McKenzie\SWpix.com.

Castleford have been issued with a £35,000 fine, £15,000 of which has been suspended for two years, for failing to fulfil a Super League fixture against St Helens on June 30 and for breaching Covid protocols on the return coach journey from the Challenge Cup final defeat at Wembley in July.

A subsequent Covid outbreak at the club, which is claimed to have come from a lack of social distancing on the coach, led to the postponement of additional league games against Catalans Dragons and Leigh Centurions.

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Meanwhile, Huddersfield have been handed a £30,000 fine, half of which has been suspended for two years, for failing to fulfil a league match with Castleford at the beginning of July.

An RFL statement read: "In both cases the RFL advised that there were no grounds for postponement within the regulatory framework agreed between Super League clubs and the RFL – a framework which differentiates between matches that a club is unable to fulfil for Covid-related reasons and matches a club is unable to play due to other player availability issues.

"The clubs were also warned that failure to fulfil the fixtures could be considered ‘Misconduct’ under the game’s Operational Rules.

"Separately, the RFL Board ruled that each club had effectively forfeited the game, and that their opponents be awarded the match and the competition points by a deemed score of 24-0."

Castleford admitted their disappointment with the RFL's ruling and insisted they had done everything in their power to prevent the fixture against St Helens being cancelled.

FINED: Huddersfield Giants have been issued with a fine by the RFL. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

"Castleford Tigers are disappointed but ultimately accept the RFL’s decision to fine the club, following the extenuating circumstances which led to the Tigers’ Betfred Super League match against St Helens not being fulfilled on the 30th of June," read a club statement.

"As was stated to both the RFL and St Helens, Castleford Tigers had just fourteen First Team players available due to injuries, and Covid-19 protocols being followed meant that the Club could not call upon its Academy or young players.

"Castleford Tigers could not postpone the fixture on the 30th of June due to the number of players outside of the Club’s top 25 earners not being affected at that time by Covid protocols. Every effort was made by Castleford Tigers to field a team for the match until it was ultimately too late, and the game needed to be cancelled, much to the Club’s disappointment.

"Castleford Tigers did however field a team for the match against Huddersfield Giants on 2nd August, despite meeting the RFL’s framework for a postponement due to player availability for Covid-related reasons."

Meanwhile, Salford Red Devils have been fined £25,000 - with half of that total suspended for one year - for breaches of Covid protocols which led to the postponements of two Betfred Super League fixtures this season.

A significant Covid outbreak at the club, caused by the club’s failure to properly enforce RFL Covid protocols within its Designated Sporting Environment (DSE), resulted in the postponement of matches against Wakefield Trinity and Hull FC.

An RFL statement said: "The fines reflect the RFL’s determination to protect the integrity of, and confidence in, professional Rugby League competitions. In reaching ‘agreed decisions’ with the clubs, the RFL re-emphasises the sport’s obligations to clubs, supporters, and commercial and broadcaster partners who are affected by such postponements and cancellations."