Warriors investigated by RFL over fixture saga

Wigan Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan
Wigan Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan

Wigan will face an investigation by the Rugby Football League into their decision to postpone Friday night’s Betfred Super League match against Widnes.

The newly-crowned world club champions took the decision on Thursday night to call off the fixture after heavy rain left standing water on the pitch at the DW Stadium, which is due to host Wigan Athletic’s Sky Bet Championship match against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

Neither Widnes nor the RFL were consulted before the decision was made by Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan and Wigan Athletic chairman David Sharpe and it is understood that the governing body is to decide whether the Super League champions broke their operational rules.

The rules make it clear that clubs do not have the power to unilaterally postpone fixtures. That decision can only be taken either by a ground safety officer or the match commissioner in consultation with a match official following a pitch inspection.

Widnes issued a statement via their website on Thursday night apologising to their fans for the confusion and making it clear they were not consulted.

Vikings chief executive James Rule said: “At 6.30pm, I received a call from (Wigan rugby director) Kris Radlinski who informed me that Wigan Atheltic and Ian Lenagan had agreed to the postponement of our fixture, due to the condition of their pitch and the importance of Wigan Athletic’s upcoming fixture.

“As we have not been involved in any consultation prior to this announcement, we are unable to comment further at this stage. We will do so in due course.”

It is thought both Wigan and Widnes were locked in talks on Friday morning about a re-arrangement, with the possibility of staging the game on Sunday, either at the DW Stadium or on the Vikings’ all-weather surface at the Select Security Stadium.

Press Association reports the RFL board is ready to hold an emergency meeting to make a decision if the clubs cannot come to an agreement.