Hudgell criticises RFL and Devils after ruling

Neil Hudgell
Neil Hudgell
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HULL KR chairman Neil Hudgell says punishment for crowd trouble following the Million Pound Game is “another nonsensical day” in the RFL’s disciplinary.

Fans from both clubs invaded the pitch at KCOM Craven Park at the end of 80 minutes and again after golden-point extra-time following Salford Red Devils’ dramatic 19-18 win which relegated Rovers.

The RFL imposed a £25,000 fine – £20,000 suspended – on KR after finding them guilty of breaking ground safety rules and failing to control their fans.

Salford were fined £10,000 – £7,500 suspended – and ordered to pay an additional £3,000 hanging over them after previous trouble at Huddersfield last Easter.

However, Hudgell – an historic critic of the disciplinary process but, since December, part of a newly-formed RFL review panel looking at ways of improving it – said: “We accepted the RFL adjudication for expediency’s sake and accountability, as there were failings in the match day operations and a minority let us and the vast majority of fans down with appalling behaviour.

“What I didn’t know at the time of accepting the adjudication was we’d be more harshly dealt with than Salford.

“Salford had a very recent finding of crowd misconduct and 12 other related incidents recorded against them. Salford gave media statements overstating the level of support by more than two-fold, meaning the unnecessary deployment of stewards to the south end. Salford fans entered the field first and their owner aggravated the situation with his unsporting actions post-game.

“I accept our culpability but fail to follow the basis on which the sanction’s been set by an administrator against that of the other offenders. It’s another nonsensical day in the RFL’s disciplinary machinery’s operating practices.”