After a couple of weeks of good publicity and new beginnings, you have to ask whether the game has shot itself in the foot again.
Wigan Warriors have been fined and 2 points deducted for the 2019 season for alleged breach of a salary cap committed in the 2017 season. It does seem quite ridiculous that the Warriors are being punished for a violation committed 18 months ago.
Why has it taken so long?
The interesting aspect is that the regime of a salary cap is clearly a strict one and we have seen other clubs punished for breaches such as Salford Reds. However in the same month that Castleford Tigers have been given dispensation in relation to the salary cap to recruit a new player, to replace the injured Luke Gale, we now have this latest headline. Is it a wonder that the game cannot attract new highly successful entrepreneurs?
The Warriors are unsurprisingly appealing the decision. The statement from the RFL talks about an Independent Tribunal, but once again question marks are raised whether the tribunal is independent when members of the tribunal are hand-picked by the RFL-the very same organisation that prosecutes these claims. If we are to have a true independent tribunal should we not be referring these disputes to Sports Resolutions.
At least then there can be no argument about bias or questions about being independent. This is something that I have been harping on about for several years. While rules are rules, the messages coming out about the way salary cap is administered creates confusion. Last week Super League 2019 was launched with a real feelgood factor and yesterday we had the launch of the 2021 World Cup.
Surely the issue of this breach of salary cap should have been dealt with during the quiet months of November & December?
The game is desperate to attract new fans, as well as new sponsors and headlines of this nature, do not help.
What do you think?