Wigan Warriors have today completed the Disciplinary Process arising from Ben Flower’s actions at the 2014 Grand Final. The process started immediately after the RFL’s Disciplinary actions but has taken until this week to complete because of pre-planned post-season breaks and holidays.
Flower has been found guilty of Gross Misconduct due to violent conduct bringing into disrepute the Wigan club and the game of Rugby League .
In view of the player’s previous record and his remorse, the Wigan Club has decided that he be fined 50% of his wages for a period of six months and must undergo a rehabilitation programme involving service with young people in the Community during his banned period as he prepares to rebuild his career. Three months of the fine will be suspended and subject to return during the next 12 months to his previous good record. This judgement was decided appropriate rather than summary dismissal which was possible from a Gross Misconduct verdict.
Chairman Ian Lenagan said: “The Wigan Club has followed RFL protocol fully in conducting internal disciplinary action with Ben Flower following the incident at the Grand Final.
“We were extremely disappointed and angry at the actions of Ben Flower and stand in agreement with the Rugby Football League and the six month ban from playing which they handed down to Ben last month. There is no doubt that the reputation of this great Club has been damaged by this incident. This significant fine combined with the requirement for community service has been imposed to affirm Wigan’s position that this is not the type of behaviour we want or expect from any of our players.
“Ben’s action was totally unacceptable in Rugby League but was out of character and one for which he is deeply remorseful. It is our judgement that we should not dismiss him but should punish him financially and then support him through what will be a difficult rehabilitation period and a difficult return to playing.
“Our Rugby General Manager Kris Radlinski, along with Head Coach Shaun Wane and Player Welfare Manager Mick Farrell will now finalise the rehabilitation plan for Ben.”
Radlinski said: “It was important that the Club internally reviewed the incident that took place involving Ben Flower back in October. It was an incident that the Wigan Club could not defend. We fully supported the RFL’s ruling for a six month ban for Ben but also needed to reflect on what damage was done to the Wigan Club. We are a Club with a rich history whose traditions and values are respected. We believe that these were damaged that night. We will work hard to restore our great reputation.
“Ben Flower let the Club down and most importantly the fans and his teammates. Regrettably, the 2014 Grand Final will always be remembered for this incident and we apologise for that and congratulate St Helens who were rightly crowned Champions on the night.
“Over the past month Ben has shown great regret and remorse. We will work hard with Ben over the next six months through his period of rehabilitation. This will involve junior coaching, work in the community and seeking advice from people who have had to overcome adversity. Ben will come back stronger and is very keen to prove to Wigan fans and to Rugby League fans in general that this was an out-of-character incident.”
Flower said: “I fully accept this decision taken by Wigan. I deeply regret my actions and I am grateful for the support that my club has given me throughout this process.
“It is a relief to reach closure on the incident and I hope to move forward now and rebuild the trust of my club, team-mates and the Wigan fans.”