Catalans Dragons have today been fined £25,000.
This comes because of what the RFL described as “the misbehaviour of their supporters” at the Betfred Super League Play-Off fixture against Leeds Rhinos in September.
The club have also been instructed that any further misbehaviour will lead to an unprecedented punishment in the Super League era of having to play two home games behind closed doors – a sanction that has also been suspended until the end of the 2023 season.
The sanctions follow a number of previous incidents of either “spectator misbehaviour” or “unacceptable criticism of match officials” for which the club have been punished in recent seasons.
This is an agreed decision between the RFL and the club – with Catalans also pledging to launch a proactive education campaign underlining the importance of improving spectator behaviour, specifically relating to match officials.
Following this, Catalans owner Bernard Guasch has released a statement saying they “cannot accept” these behaviours.
He has revealed close workings with the RFL and has warned fans that another incident will see them play games behind closed doors.
Further to this he implored fans to “assume this responsibility.”
“Despite our disappointment and frustration, we cannot accept behaviours that are contrary to the values of respect and sharing that are embodied by our club, and our sport.”
“In recent weeks, the club has worked closely with the RFL. The sanctions issued are serious and could put the club in a complicated situation if new incidents were to happen. We have effectively a suspended punishment throughout the 2023 Season, with further financial penalties and two matches behind closed doors if there are any further problems.”
“The Gilbert Brutus stadium must be a place of celebration and conviviality. The club has always been able to rely on its loyal supporters, I know how precious your support is and I now appeal to everyone to assume this responsibility for their conduct. We are at the dawn of a new Super League season and I look forward to seeing you all at the stadium again.”