Did Wigan follow RFL protocol in postponing their game?

As of writing, there is currently a lot of confusion about the status of Wigan’s match with Widnes, which should have taken place at the DW Stadium on Friday evening at 8pm.

At 7pm on Thursday evening, Wigan released a statement confirming that the match had been postponed. The club’s chairman, Ian Lenagan, said that they had been forced to take such action due to the poor weather, with the added factor of their co-tenants, Wigan Athletic, also having a scheduled fixture less than 24 hours after their game against the Vikings.

“With Wigan Athletic’s season at such a critical stage and after detailed discussions between myself and Wigan Athletic Chairman, David Sharpe, it was agreed that they need to play this fixture more than we need to play ours,” Lenagan said.

“Potential for the game to be moved to Sunday was discussed but this simply isn’t an option with the pitch in its current state, therefore the game will be rescheduled for later this season.”

However, there have been suggestions that in postponing the match, Wigan could have failed to follow the RFL’s protocol.

Postponing a match is not a simple process. First of all, it cannot be done without the consultation of the RFL. Rule B2:5 states that if a club believes the ground might not be fit the home club ‘must immediately call a Match Official who is on a list provided by the RFL Match Officials department prior to the start of the season’.

Wigan’s press release did not disclose information about any consultation with the RFL. Lenagan claimed in the statement that the game was postponed following discussions with Wigan Athletic’s chairman, David Sharpe.

If it comes to light that Wigan have not followed the correct guidelines, the club could be punished for ‘Off Field Misconduct’.  Rule B1:22 states that The RFL Board will decide whether the game would be replayed, or if Wigan would be forced to forfeit the match.

With news now coming to light that the RFL are going to investigate the club following the postponement, it would appear that the Warriors could be in hot water.