Saturday, 06 February 2016

Raiders relegated - Johnston banned from RL for eight years

THE RFL have confirmed Barrow Raiders have been relegated from the Championship and chairman Des Johnston banned from any involvement in rugby league for eight years after a tribunal in Leeds. Johnston blasted the tribunal as a 'witch-hunt'.

BARROW Raiders have been relegated from the Championship and chairman Des Johnston banned from any involvement in rugby league for eight years by an RFL tribunal in Leeds.

The operational rules tribunal met behind closed doors to discuss salary cap breaches and illegal player payments at Craven Park between 2007 and 2011.

The club said in a brief statement issued just before midnight that they had been deducted 29 points – their entire total from the 2011 season, meaning immediate demotion to Championship One. The RFL confirmed the punishment this morning and also that there had been no fine levied, nor would the 2009 Championship Grand Final win be taken away.

Johnston, who testified before the tribunal, was in addition banned from any involvement in rugby league for eight years.

The statement said: “Barrow Raiders were deducted 29 (twenty nine) points and Mr Des Johnston banned from involvement with the game of rugby league for a period of 8 (eight) years at an Operational Rules Tribunal held on Thursday 6th October, 2011.

“Both the club and Mr. Johnston have taken further legal advice and been advised to make no comment until such time as the written adjudication giving the reasons for the tariffs imposed has been received and considered.”

The RFL released no further details of the evidence heard before the tribunal in their statement this morning.

It said: “An RFL operational rules tribunal has docked Barrow Raiders 29 competition points and barred the club’s chairman Des Johnston from any involvement in rugby league for eight years.

“Barrow and Johnston were found guilty of a systemic breach of RFL operational rules over a four-year period from 2007 when they appeared before a tribunal at Red Hall on Thursday evening.

“The findings followed a lengthy investigation by the RFL in which Barrow were found to have been in breach of the following RFL Operational Rules:

“Rule C.1.1.7 – failing to record in player contracts all financial benefits or benefits in kind that a player is receiving;

“Rule C.1.1.11 – no club or club official shall loan money or goods or make payment or provide any benefit in kind to a player unless they are recorded in the player’s contract;

“Rule D1.8 (f) – misconduct by committing a breach of Championship salary cap Regulations.

The tribunal’s decision relegates Barrow Raiders to Co-operative Championship One with immediate effect and secures the status of Dewsbury Rams as a Championship club for the 2012 season.”

Johnston himself spoke to the Evening Mail today and blasted the decision. He said: “The people at the RFL who have carried out this investigation have embarrassed themselves beyond belief.

“We are well aware that I have been hung out to dry and there has been a witch-hunt going on for the last few years. There have gone so far over the top."

See Saturday's Evening Mail for a full interview with Des Johnston, vice-chairman Jon Livesey on the immediate future for the club and a look back at the last five years at Craven Park under Johnston's reign.

Have your say

K Stone... Keep your trap shut

Posted by Pete on 30 November 2011 at 11:19

K Stone, totally disgraceful comments. You should be ashamed to be from this area. Please wrap up for everyones sake

Posted by Brian G on 4 November 2011 at 22:04

View all 81 comments on this article

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