Why Josh McGuire was given a mammoth ban and a huge fine

Last night the RFL held a tribunal to determine the fates of two players.

During Warrington Wolves’ clash with the Leigh Leopards, Josh McGuire was sent off and left bemused as to why.

He was charged with a Grade F offence of using unacceptable language and was joined by opponent Tom Amone.

Last night at the tribunal Amone was found not guilty whereas McGuire was slapped with a seven game ban and a £1000 fine.

According to the RFL McGuire used language that was discriminated the disabled.

If you refer to Page 8 of the RFL’s Operational Rules 2023 this is covered by their definition of unacceptable language as seen below:

“Any comments, threats, chanting, discrimination (direct or indirect), harassment, bullying, victimisation, or incitement to hatred or abuse or any other action (implied, intended, or unintended) which targets individuals or groups on the grounds of age, colour, ethnic origin, disability (including physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, mental illness or some chronic disease), gender identity, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, nationality or national origin political persuasion, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, socio economic background or is otherwise in breach of the Respect Policy, Tackle It or the RFL’s Equity Statement.”

Meanwhile, on page 332 it is confirmed that, “Verbal abuse based on race, colour, religion, gender, sexual preference disability, national or ethnic origin or any other form of unacceptable Behaviour or Language,” carried a Grade F charge. Therefore, based on the fact the RFL have confirmed that McGuire had said something which discriminates against the disabled it is no surprised that he has been slapped with a seven match ban. The minimum for a Grade F charge is six games.

But why the big fine too?

That is explained on page 333 of this year’s rules:

“The Match Review Panel and Tribunal shall impose fines on players who accept a Penalty Charge Notice at Grade A, B or D or are found guilty at hearings.

“The only exception is in the case of a successful Penalty Notice challenge at a Tribunal. Fines are not and will not be Issued instead of suspensions and will not be used in an exemplary manner.

“In the event that Player is found guilty of multiple Offences, a fine should ordinarily be imposed for each Offence.

“In the case of Players found guilty of a Grade E offence then the fine will be a 1.5 multiple of the amount listed.

“If a Player is found guilty of a Grade F offence, the fine imposed will be double the amount listed in the structure.”

Super League players, according to the rules, are fined at a rate of £500 and of course with this being a Grade F offence that was increased all the way to £1000.

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