Wigan Warriors have suspended prop Tony Clubb after he allegedly directed racist abuse towards Hull FC’s Andre Savelio during their Super League match on Thursday.
Referee James Child placed the first-half incident on report after Savelio said he had heard a comment, with the official’s microphone picking up Mr Child saying it was Clubb who was the player who had been accused.
The New Zealand-born forward, who is of Samoan descent, detailed the alleged slur – which made reference to his Polynesian heritage – in a Twitter post following the game.
Wigan edge Hull FC to maintain unbeaten start
Zak Hardaker’s penalty kick late on helped Wigan to victory over Hull, but an allegation of racism marred the win.
“In a game where 30 per cent are of that heritage, hell I won’t sit quietly,” Savelio also wrote in a post on his Twitter page. “I’m just hopeful a camera or microphone clocked it and it’s dealt with.”
Wigan Warriors executive director Kris Radlinski confirmed via a joint club statement on Friday that they have suspended Clubb from all club activities while an investigation is carried out.
“There is no room for racism in sport in any form and we take the accusations made by Hull’s Andre Savelio very seriously,” Radlinski said.
“Our immediate intention is to work closely with Hull and the governing body to gather all the facts and support the investigation process that is in place.
“In the short term, Tony Clubb will be suspended from all Club activities. Tony’s evidence will be taken into consideration by all parties moving forward and his welfare will remain a responsibility of Wigan Warriors throughout the investigation.”
Hull and Wigan have discussed the matter and are in dialogue with the RFL, who will review and investigate the incident through the normal match review and disciplinary process.
“Hull FC and Wigan Warriors have launched a joint internal investigation, demonstrating their strong and united approach against racial abuse,” the statement said.
“Hull FC and Wigan Warriors, alongside the ten other clubs in the Super League, continue to stand firm against all types of discrimination and abuse. Equality matters, and Hull FC and Wigan Warriors are united in this message.”
Hull FC chief executive, James Clark, said: “Andre has the full support of everyone at our club and we will work hard to ensure this incident is thoroughly investigated and that his voice can be heard. Racial abuse is not acceptable in any form.
“This is obviously an emotive and highly personal subject, and he has access to the best possible welfare network should it be required.
“A zero-tolerance approach to all forms of abuse is prevalent in Rugby League – we are a welcoming sport that prides itself on its core values of inclusion, community, diversity and respect.”
The incident comes ahead of a weekend when Super League, the RFL, Rugby League World Cup 2021 and the Rugby League Players’ Association are set to join a social media boycott to help combat racist abuse.
The allegation will now be assessed by a disciplinary panel after being put on report by Mr Child, while Wigan head coach Adrian Lam said he will reserve comment until the club gets to the bottom of allegations made against Clubb.
The alleged incident overshadowed what had been a hard-fought encounter which finished with Wigan ending Hull FC’s unbeaten start to the 2021 Super League season in a 16-14 win.
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