Bradford Bulls punished for homophobic abuse

Bradford Bulls and the RFL have reached an Agreed Decision as a sanction for unacceptable behaviour by supporters during the club’s home Betfred Championship fixture against Newcastle Thunder earlier this season.

A compliance investigation was opened following complaints of homophobic comments directed at the match referee James Child, and that stewards had failed to take action.

The investigation was satisfied that Bradford were unaware of the comments, and the club have accepted that match stewards should have heard the remarks and intervened.

The club have committed to spending a minimum of £3,000 to promote an Inclusivity and Diversity Celebration home fixture in 2022, in lieu of a fine, as a more progressive and positive intervention – with an additional £1,000 fine suspended until the end of the 2022 Championship season.

Bradford have already taken action to improve education and awareness of stewards, staff and fans, and as part of the learnings of this case they have agreed to ensure that the RFL’s Tackle It campaign is given greater focus at the club.

The club has an excellent track record in promoting inclusivity and diversity within the sport and at the club – with no previous cases of crowd misconduct on record.

In reaching an ‘Agreed Decision’ with the RFL, the club accepts that the language which was heard at the fixture in question was offensive and homophobic, and has no place in the sport of Rugby League.

Dr Rimla Akhtar OBE, Chair of the RFL Inclusion Board, said: “This is a positive outcome to an unacceptable incident. It is important that the sport shows this behaviour will not be tolerated, and on behalf of the Inclusion Board and the RFL Board, I congratulate the Bradford club for their response.”

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