Following a re-hearing, a Sport Resolutions panel has imposed a punishment on Wigan Warriors for breaching the Super League salary cap in 2017.
The club appealed against the decision to deduct two points in the 2019 season and to issue a fine of £5,000, £2,500 of which was suspended, which was originally decided by an independent tribunal in January, whilst accepting that it had breached the Salary Cap Regulations.
The fresh panel has imposed a two-point deduction, which is suspended for a period of 12 months, until March 2020. That deduction will automatically be activated if Wigan commit a further breach of the Finite Salary Cap in that period.
In addition, the panel has ordered Wigan to pay a fine of £5,000 immediately and confirmed that costs of £2,000 for the original hearing on January 24 must be paid. The panel have also ruled that their appeal deposit should be retained by the RFL.
The RFL and Wigan had already agreed to split the cost of the Sport Resolutions hearing.
RFL statement: “It is good to have this matter resolved, after this second independent hearing following the initial independent tribunal in January. The RFL will continue to police the salary cap in agreement with the Super League clubs.”
Wigan Warriors Chairman and Owner, Ian Lenagan commented: “We are now able to draw a line under this issue and are pleased that the Sports Resolutions independent panel have reached what we have always believed to be the correct decision.
“Throughout this process we have acknowledged the administrative errors that resulted in this technical breach and I’d like to say again that we apologise unreservedly for the errors and accept a fine of this level is justified. At no point during this investigation has Wigan’s integrity been questioned. Our main argument has been that a points-deduction punishment was disproportionate to the marginal nature of the offence committed and we are happy that the independent panel shares this view with today’s decision.
We have worked co-operatively with the Rugby Football League (RFL) and the Sports Resolution panel. I’d also like to thank our fellow Betfred Super League clubs who have been largely supportive of our stance. Hopefully the findings of this case can act as a catalyst for change on some of the operating procedures regarding salary cap management which are clearly necessary.
“Wigan now will draw a line under this affair and look forward to getting back to the important matter of gaining points on the field for the remainder of the 2019 Betfred Super League season.”