Leeds escape punishment over Catalans postponement

Leeds Rhinos have escaped punishment after they chose not to travel to France for their fixture against Catalans on March 14.

The game was due to take place behind-closed-doors days before the RFL would eventually decide to suspend the sport due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The club made the independent decision not to travel on the basis that one player was already self-isolating after showing potential coronavirus symptoms, and were subject to an inquiry surrounding their compliance with the RFL’s Operational Rules.

At the time, Leeds Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield said: “We are disappointed to be in a position whereby we have had to make this decision but the health and well being of everyone is our paramount concern particularly with us having to fly to fulfil the fixture. We felt it was the responsible thing to do both for our players and staff and members of the public who we would share the flight with.”

The RFL has now considered the circumstances surrounding Leeds’ decision and confirmed they will face no disciplinary action.

They said in a statement: “In accordance with the Operational Rules, and having considered all the circumstances which it was noted were truly exceptional, the RFL Board has determined that the match should be replayed and the Compliance Manager has determined that no other disciplinary action should be taken.

“Leeds have been reminded, and have accepted, that the Operational Rules are in place to ensure the smooth operation and integrity of the professional Rugby League competitions – and that in more usual circumstances the failure to fulfil a fixture would have led to significant sanctions.”

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