Featherstone Rovers chairman accuses RFL of 'trying to damage' club with investigation into alleged Covid breach

Featherstone Rovers bosses have accused the Rugby Football League (RFL) of "trying to damage" the club, following an investigation into an alleged Covid breach.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 9:45 am
Updated Thursday, 8th July 2021, 9:46 am

Chairman Mark Campbell made the comments on Tuesday following a public hearing, which outlined claims that first-team players and officials had taken part in a five-hour drinking session at the club's ground in March.

The incident was a breach of Covid rules in place at the time, police said.

Although Rovers officials welcomed the outcome of the hearing, which saw the club keep its alcohol licence, they are unhappy with the RFL s role in investigating what happened.

The club was accused of hosting an illegal gathering following a game in March, which police said breached Covid rules.

The sport's governing body worked with the police in probing the matter and also suspended and fined player Brett Ferres, who was identified as being involved in the breach.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Campbell said: "This was not a premeditated or pre-planned party as alleged by the police.

"The police were put up to this by the RFL, which we find exceptionally disappointing.

"The RFL's remit would appear to be to damage their member clubs."

The RFL insisted its Covid guidance to clubs was "clear".

The RFL has declined to comment on Mr Campbell's remarks.

But the governing body did defend its coronavirus guidance to clubs, which came under attack from Mr Campbell during the meeting.

The RFL has insisted that players leave grounds promptly following games during the pandemic.

But the Rovers chairman said that the gathering took place because the clubhouse was being used for player "welfare" at the time.

He said it was normal for the room to be used by the players and other groups during the week.

Mr Campbell told the hearing: "With the RFL's guidance, there's so many grey areas.

"It doesn't say when the premises go back to normal, working, day-to-day operations.

"My office is based at the club. There's nothing specifying when I can go back to my office.

"There's so many grey areas in that. I believe we were using that room for welfare.

"It wasn't an organised party. We were having a bite to eat, a packet of crisps and a couple of drinks."

In response, a spokesman for the RFL said: "Our rules and guidance to clubs are clear, in terms of the requirements of clubs and their players, and the use of their facilities, specifically in response to Covid-19.

"We continue to work with clubs as well as the relevant statutory authorities and the police regarding matters such as this."

Local Democracy Reporting Service