Super League: Salford Red Devils fined for failing to play Warrington

Salford Red Devils have been fined £15,000, half of it suspended, for failing to fulfil their game against Warrington in October.

The Red Devils withdrew from their scheduled match against Warrington on October 30, informing the RFL that they had only 13 players available for selection, after fixture congestion arising from their involvement in the Challenge Cup final.

Warrington were awarded a 24-0 victory, and the matter referred to the RFL Compliance Department, as Salford did not meet the specific requirements identified under the RFL’s Covid protocols for withdrawing from a fixture – a minimum of seven players ruled out as a direct result of Covid-19 (either through a positive test or contact tracing).

In a statement, Salford stressed they ‘made every effort’ to fulfill the fixture and said they were ‘hugely disappointed by the decision’.

The statement said: “Super League and the RFL were informed that only 13 players were available for selection in the match, which was set to be the team’s third of a congested schedule where they were expected to play four times within the space of 11 days.

“In order to ensure the continuation of the competition, Salford Red Devils had agreed to a concentrated fixture list, which was made more severe by the team’s progression to the Coral Challenge Cup Final. The Club made every effort to fulfil all fixtures, with additional recruitment to the squad despite no threat of relegation, and strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols, which prevented rescheduling as a consequence of outbreaks within the Red Devils group.

“Two young players were also promoted from the academy and made their Betfred Super League debuts. The decision was made that it would be a risk to the welfare of these players and those who had recently returned from injury, to expose them to 80 minutes in opposition to senior players that compete at international level, without any possibility of interchanges.

“At a time when other sports have been criticised for their approaches to player welfare, Salford Red Devils are disappointed that the RFL have not supported the stance taken by the Club. This will not alter the Club’s priorities and approach going forward.”

In a statement, the RFL said: “The RFL has to ensure the integrity of its competitions at all times, which includes the fulfilment of fixtures by all Clubs.

“However, the level of sanction recognises the unique circumstances that Clubs, including Salford, faced during the 2020 Season and the co-operation that the RFL received from the Club during its investigation.”

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