Koukash not smiling as April 1 tweet proves prescient

Salford have been docked six points after being found guilty of breaching the Super League salary cap.

The Red Devils were also fined £5,000 by an independent tribunal for breaking the Rugby Football League’s operational rules and salary cap regulations concerning contractual arrangements made with three players in 2014 and 2015.

The tribunal, chaired by Judge Peter Charlesworth found that Salford had committed a serious breach of the rules including exceeding the finite salary limit of £1.825 m in 2014.

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The points deduction will be imposed immediately, which means Salford drop to 11th in the table, above only bottom club Huddersfield on points difference, although Red Devils owner Marwan Koukash said he was considering an appeal.

The tribunal also found Salford not guilty of a number of offences concerning contractual arrangements with two players.

The club have 14 days from the receipt of the written reasons for the decision in which to lodge an appeal.

By a quirky twist of fate, Koukash had tweeted on April 1 that Salford had been docked six points for breaching the cap and pledged to fight the punishment.

The wealthy racehorse owner was in bullish mood as he entered the RFL headquarters at Red Hall, on the outskirts of Leeds, with a three-man legal team, expressing his confidence about the outcome, but he was a downcast figure when he emerged six hours later.

“The tribunal have made a decision which we disagree with,” said lawyer Paul Barrow, of Liverpool-based Quinn Barrow solicitors

“We’re disappointed, six points is ridiculously unfair on a young squad who are trying really hard and have got lots to aim for this season.”

Salford had some good news to lift the gloom in part with the permanent signing of winger Justin Carney.

The 27-year-old Australian is currently on a season-long loan from Castleford, but will stay with the Red Devils after they agreed a deal with the Tigers.

Wigan were thought to be showing interest in Carney and Salford say they have beaten off competition from a host of rival clubs for his signature on a contract that will keep him at the AJ Bell Stadium until the end of 2019.

Salford head coach Ian Watson said: “Justin is a real good bloke to have around the place. He is a great influence on the group and a hugely competitive professional. He wants to win things and you see that in his attacking play. He is a 100 miles per hour player and he is the top metre maker in the competition this year.”