Wigan's salary cap deduction was a bombshell announcement ahead of the new season - here's how some journalists and fans reacted...
Champions Wigan Warriors will begin their 2019 Super League campaign with a two-point deduction after being punished for breaching the salary cap in 2017.
They admitted overspending around £14,000, apologised and blamed it on an administrative effort. The timing of the announcement could hardly have been any worse, on the eve of the new Super League season. Here's how some journalists reacted on social media - followed by some supporters' views:
@BradWalterSport: "Feel for UK reporters who had written good stories about new season that now won’t see light of day or not as they would have before the Wigan salary cap news. I had exclusive SBW portrait & interview on SMH page 1 in 2013 that lasted one edition because of Sharks doping scandal."
@AaronBower: "Spot on re: the timing. Don't buy this 'there was no other day to do it' crap. Cast a cloud over the kick-off and weeks of good hype surrounding the season"
@scratchingshed2: “Robert Elstone looks in the mirror, goes to straighten his tie, finds his hand tied behind his back #newbeginnings #rugbyleague #pointsnotpersonalities.”
@MartynSadler: “I think @WiganWarriorsRLs response to their two-points deduction for a minor salary cap offence committed in 2017 is persuasive. The punishment should surely have been a fine. I hope the club appeals successfully.”
@garethwalker: "Whether you think the timing of Wigan cap announcement is good or bad for RL (can see both sides of that), what it has undoubtedly done is again take attention away from the players and onto administrators ahead of the new season - something the sport seems to be a master of"
@PaulBennettLW: "Not buying the idea that the Wigan cap news damages the season launch. Internally perhaps it takes some shine off ‘New Beginnings’ ... but it should at least grab us some headlines."
@Johnnyddavidson: “The RFL announced Wigan’s salary cap penalty today to sabotage the launch of the new Super League season”. You have to love a conspiracy, don’t you?"
And here's some reaction from supporters:
@carlbramhall: “Seems a bit harsh for breaching the salary cap by 0.8%.”
Hull FC fan, @markl_17: “Wigan warriors deducted 2 points for breach of salary cap and will start the season on -2 points. FARCE !!!! -2 points !! The club as a whole have broken the rules -2 isn't enough of a punishment !”
@matt_young: “They should be stripped of all their titles. Wigan are used to getting away with things and that's the only way they'll learn.”
@AlexG6: “You’ll find no logic to it Phil. Every RL journo has alluded to it but hasn’t just come out and said it - It’s simply blatant payback for the rebellion and everybody knows it. This war will continue to bubble away.”
@Paulfinchauthor: "The timing is the controversy here. The 2 points is an issue, but that can be appealed. The timing gaffe by the RFL is the choker. Contrary to the myth, there IS such a thing as bad publicity - especially where RL is concerned, as most folk hear almost nothing else about it."
Mike Brandon: “The sport is its own worst enemy.... How can you have financial restrictions in today’s game and expect to compete with other unrestricted sports and produce increases in
revenue gain wider exposure? Same fish, same pond, same stupid rules and format.”
Ian Hardman: “So Wigan have been stitched up twice in two days by the RFL. Maybe the Warriors should rejoin the RFU”
Jill Ashcroft: “Should fine the club, by deducting points is like fining the fans!! out of order!!!!”
Katrina Robinson: “Never understood points deduction. It was in 2017! It has absolutely nothing to do with the 2019 season. Also, £14,700??? Behave yourselves!!! Fine the club a satisfactory amount then let that be the end of it!”
Drew Parr: “Tryin to do everythin to stop wigan Baskin in our glory, no world cup game n point deduction, they be sayin we have to play in blindfolds next �� come on warriors show um”