Wigan Warriors have confirmed that prop Tony Clubb has been suspended from all club activities as an investigation into allegations that he racially abused Hull FC’s Andre Savelio begins.
The incident took place in the first half of Thursday’s Super League match between the clubs, with Savelio making a complaint to referee James Child.
Club had already left the field at that point and did not return, although Wigan coach Adrian Lam later said that was not linked to the allegations. The matter was placed on report and is now being looking into by the RFL’s match review panel, with a decision over whether to charge Clubb set to be made by Monday.
After the game, Savelio published a detailed tweet on the matter, stating that he was called a “stupid Polynesian ****”. Savelio wrote: “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.”
On Friday Hull FC and Wigan issued a joint statement outlining their stance on the issue. In it, Warriors executive director, Kris 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.”
Hull FC 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.”
The RFL also issued a statement outlining the process from here. It reads: “This is a serious and high profile allegation, but our procedures will remain the same. The case will be heard by the match review panel on Monday morning, after the completion of this round of Betfred Super League fixtures.
“It 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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