Batley Bulldogs and Doncaster have been deducted three competition points each after an RFL Operational Rules Tribunal found them guilty of breaching RFL Operational Rules relating to dual registration by fielding ineligible players in Kingstone Press Championship fixtures.
Batley and Doncaster were found guilty of breaching Operational Rule B3.17 which states that dual registration players who have a salary cap value of £20,000 or more must have played in at least three league fixtures for the Championship club that season before the end-of-season registration deadline in order to play in games which fall after the deadline, whether they be regular season or play-off games.
The charges were heard by an RFL Operational Tribunal following complaints that Jacob Fairbank, a dual registered player from Huddersfield Giants, played for Batley against Sheffield Eagles, and that Ben Crooks, a dual-registered player from Hull FC, played for Doncaster against Keighley Cougars. Both matches were played on Sunday July 27, two days after the registration deadline for the Kingstone Press Championship closed.
The deduction puts Batley into the relegation zone in the Championship, putting them three points from safety with just three rounds of the season remaining. The Bulldogs face Dewsbury at home this wekeend, before games against Swinton and Doncaster to finish their season.
The Dons now sit seven points off second-placed Halifax with three games of the season remaining – but they have confirmed they will appeal the decision.
“Whilst we do not dispute Ben played in the game, based on communications and dialogue we have had with the RFL prior to the player participating in the game we are disappointed with the outcome of the hearing and the punishment that has been provided,” Chief Executive Carl Hall said.
“We can confirm we will be appealing the decision.”
Championship Relegation Run-In – Three Games Remaining
Keighley Cougars 41points
Workington Town 41points
Batley Bulldogs 35points*
*Batley deducted three points