By DOUG THOMSON and DAVID KUZIO
Wigan Warriors have suspended Tony Clubb from all club activities as they join with Hull FC to investigate an allegation that the forward racially abused an opposing player.
It is alleged that Hull’s Andre Savelio was subject to a racist insult by Wigan’s Clubb during Thursday’s Super League match.
The alleged incident was believed to have happened after 17 minutes, but New Zealand-born Savelio, who is of Samoan descent, didn’t report it straight away and he took to social media after the game to explain that decision.
He wrote on Twitter: “Listen, there’s no reason at all for me to lie. I didn’t report it initially as I was going to deal with it myself the next time we came into contact, he got taken off the play after and never came back on.
“For him to call me a ‘STUPID POLYNESIAN C***’ in a game where 30% are of that heritage, I won’t sit quietly. I’ve seen these happen enough to know most of the time there is never enough proof. I swear it on my mum’s (life). I’m just hopeful a camera or microphone clocked it and it’s dealt with.
“Sixteen Wigan players came on the pitch and shook hands at the end, one didn’t. That’s the measure of a man.”
When asked if the fact that Clubb did not return to the action after being substituted was linked to the alleged incident, Wigan coach Adrian Lam said: “No, not at all. It was just the way the game panned out, and he didn’t get a chance to go back on. It was my decision and nothing to do with the allegation.”
Clubb himself has made no public comment since last Thursday night.
The two clubs issued a joint statement saying they have discussed the matter and are in dialogue with the RFL, who will review and investigate the incident through the normal match review and disciplinary process.
The statement added: “Meanwhile, Hull FC and Wigan Warriors have launched a joint internal investigation, demonstrating their strong and united approach against racial abuse.
“Hull FC and Wigan Warriors, alongside the ten other clubs in the Super League, continue to stand firm against all types of discrimination and abuse.
“Equality matters, and Hull FC and Wigan Warriors are united in this message.”
Hull chief executive, James Clark, said: “Andre has the full support of everyone at our club and we will work hard to ensure this incident is thoroughly investigated and that his voice can be heard. Racial abuse is not acceptable in any form.
“This is obviously an emotive and highly personal subject, and he has access to the best possible welfare network should it be required.
“A zero-tolerance approach to all forms of abuse is prevalent in Rugby League – we are a welcoming sport that prides itself on its core values of inclusion, community, diversity and respect.
“We would also like to note the professional, transparent and sympathetic approach to the handling of this matter by Kris Radlinski and Wigan Warriors.”
Wigan executive director Radlinski said: “There is no room for racism in sport in any form and we take the accusations made by Hull’s Andre Savelio very seriously.
“Our immediate intention is to work closely with Hull and the governing body to gather all the facts and support the investigation process that is in place.
“In the short term, Tony Clubb will be suspended from all club activities.
“Tony’s evidence will be taken into consideration by all parties moving forward and his welfare will remain a responsibility of Wigan Warriors throughout the investigation.”
The RFL will carry out its own investigation of the incident and it issued a statement explaining its approach.
“This is a serious and high-profile allegation, but our procedures will remain the same,” it said.
“The case will be heard by the Match Review Panel on Monday morning, after the completion of this round of Betfred Super League fixtures.
“The MRP has three options – to charge, not to charge, or to refer for further investigation.
“In advance of that, submissions will be sought from the clubs, and footage requested from the broadcasters – this process has already begun.
“In addition, welfare support has been offered through Rugby League Cares.”
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