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Major club slam “abhorrent behaviour” following controversial Challenge Cup tie

Ahead of the new Super League season and the launch of professional sides in the Challenge Cup, the RFL this week launched ‘Respect’ – a campaign to encourage the best possible standards of behaviours among all those involved in Rugby League.

Respect aims to improve touchline behaviour at community games, tackle abuse of match officials, address any player and fan misbehaviour, and ensure a welcoming environment at all levels of the game.

The campaign has game-wide support – from players at the very top of the game who feature in the campaign launch video, and from professional club foundations such as Leeds Rhinos, whose Touchline programme will see them working with community clubs in the area and sharing the Respect message.

RFL Chief Executive, Tony Sutton, says: “We want everyone involved in Rugby League, particularly children and young people, to have positive and enjoyable experiences. It’s critical for the future of the game, because ultimately negative experiences turn people away and positive ones keep them coming back for more. And when it comes to match officials in particular, there is no game without them so we need to give them all the support we can.

“Put simply, respect means treating others how you would wish to be treated yourself. And respect for each other will make Rugby League an even greater game. So today I’m urging everybody involved in our game – fans, players, match officials, coaches, volunteers – to show their support for the Respect campaign and make a positive difference in 2024.”

More information, including campaign assets for clubs and icons for use on social media accounts, is available at Clubs at all levels can also request bespoke campaign assets featuring imagery related to their club.

Tougher sanctions will also be in force for those found to have breached the game’s Respect codes of conduct.

Cornwall issue statement after Challenge Cup upset

League One Cornwall have been knocked out of the Challenge Cup by amateur side York Acorn.

League One Cornwall have been knocked out of the Challenge Cup by amateur side York Acorn. – Picture by Patrick Tod/

Unfortunately, this “respect” campaign is already in use. Cornwall lost to amateur side York Acorn in the Challenge Cup in a big result.

However, Cornwall unfortunately have had to issue the following statement:

“Cornwall RLFC have been made aware of comments directed at members of our playing squad, medical staff and our ball crew, from a small section of away supporters at today’s Betfred Challenge Cup tie.

“The club does not condone this abhorrent behaviour as acceptable within the sport of rugby league, and it is not within the values of the newly launched Respect: Let’s make our game better together, campaign.

“Cornwall RLFC will now follow the correct Rugby Football League procedures in reporting these unsavoury incidents, that spoilt today’s match, our first fixture of 2024.

“The club will make no further comment on this matter.”

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