An amateur rugby league player has been banned for life after a cowardly punch on an opposition player.
Callum Jones, of Salford-based Langworthy Reds, was handed a 'sine die' suspension – commonly known as a lifetime ban – at Tuesday night's (October 15) disciplinary hearing for the North West Men’s League.
It came after Jones was sent off in the North West Men’s League Division 2 Final at Warrington's Victoria Park on Saturday, October 5, after he sucker punched the No.5 from opponents Chorley Panthers on the side of the head.
The incident – which can be viewed in the above video at 1 hour, 15 minutes and 10 seconds – resulted in a large scuffle between both teams and Jones being red carded.
The Rugby Football League (RFL) has confirmed that in addition to the charge of punching for which he was dismissed, Jones was found guilty of an additional charge, of running in and punching an opponent who was off guard.
Both Jones and Langworthy Reds have been informed of the sentence, which was determined by a three-man panel, two of them with legal qualifications.
Stuart Prior, the chair of the North West Men’s League, said: “This was an appalling incident, which has been widely seen on social media, and it is therefore important that the punishment sends out the right message.
“Rugby League is a tough game, but there can never be any place for behaviour such as this. It will not be tolerated in the North West Men’s League.”#
Alan Bowers, chairman of Chorley Panthers, said the decision "sends a message out" about violence in rugby league.
"It's a shock but it doesn't surprise me," said Alan.
"It was a shock on the day because the game was played in such a good spirit. The guy has just lost his head in the game.
"I'm disappointed for anyone that can't play the game but it was probably the worst act I have seen on a rugby league pitch.
"It's good to see our sport will react and send a message to stop it happening again.
"It sends a message out that these things wont be tolerated."
Both Jones and the club have the right to appeal within the next 14 days.
As per Operational Rule D6.3.9, Jones is able to appeal his lifetime ban after two years.
A spokesman for Langworthy Reds only commented to confirm that the club will be releasing its own statement via social media.