Tony Clubb fined by Wigan Warriors following ban

Wigan have fined Tony Clubb two weeks' wages following his eight week ban for making a racist remark.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 1:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 1:46 pm
Tony Clubb has been banned for eight matches
Tony Clubb has been banned for eight matches

The club has issued a statement supporting the findings of the RFL's disciplinary, and said the "language used by Tony on this occasion is unacceptable and that abuse with reference to a person’s ethnicity has no place on a rugby pitch or in society."

Clubb has been fined two weeks' wages which will be put towards a dedicated education and diversity training programme through the club’s Education and Community departments specifically targeted against abuse based on ethnicity.

A statement said the club accepts and agrees with the verdict of His Honour Judge Guy Kearl QC in the tribunal that “the words used by Tony Clubb were ethnically offensive”.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It went on: "The Club also accepts Judge Kearl’s findings that “Tony Clubb is not a racist, but on this occasion he used unacceptable language in the heat of the moment”.

"During the RFL investigation, character references were provided by other players and coaches at Wigan, including coach Adrian Lam, and club captain, Thomas Leuluai, providing full support to the Judge’s findings that Clubb is not a racist. The club also recognises that Tony has expressed remorse for the comments he made and understands that they are unacceptable.

"Nevertheless, the club finds unequivocally that the language used by Tony on this occasion is unacceptable and that abuse with reference to a person’s ethnicity has no place on a rugby pitch or in society. As a result, the club’s disciplinary process has found that a further sanction to that issued by the Tribunal is appropriate and warranted.

"The club carefully considered these sanctions in light of the severity of the offence, and we believe that furthering education and improving the understanding of race, ethnicity, what constitutes unacceptable language and why it is unacceptable is ultimately how this form of abuse will be eradicated from society. We welcome wider discussions about societal issues within the game in a protective and constructive forum."

His suspension from the club has been lifted and he will return to training while he serves his eight match ban.

He was found guilty on Tuesday night of a Grade F charge of “unacceptable language/abuse based on national or ethnic origin" by the independent operational rules tribunal and banned for eight matches.

The tribunal, chaired by His Honour Judge Guy Kearl QC, considered submissions from both players and clubs, the match official’s report, broadcast footage and character references.

In his judgement HHJ Kearl said: "“We have considered the evidence of both players and the circumstances surrounding the allegation and find that we are reasonably satisfied, taking into account the seriousness of the charge, that the words were said, albeit in the heat of the moment, but nevertheless were said.

“They do constitute unacceptable language based on [a player’s] racial and ethnic origin and therefore we find that this was serious misconduct which has brought the game into disrepute.

“On the other hand we have considered the character references placed before us by Wigan Warriors from those who know (Tony Clubb) well at the club. We do not find that he is a racist, simply that on this occasion he used unacceptable language in the heat of the moment.

“We have therefore reduced the penalty to take account of his character and good disciplinary record to a suspension for eight matches and a £500 fine.”

Veteran prop Clubb, out of contract at the end of this season, will now be sidelined until July.

Clubb has the option of appealing the decision, with the RFL disciplinary process. The 33-year-old has a week to lodge the appeal.

He had been placed on report after Hull FC's Andre Savelio made the complaint to referee James Child during Thursday's Super League match, which Wigan won 16-14.

Savelio later claimed on Twitter he was called a "stupid Polynesian ****".

Wigan, who face Hull FC in a Challenge Cup tie on Saturday, decided to stand the prop down while an investigation took place.

The Tribunal is chaired by a serving or retired judge, and two side members who are two ex-players.