London Broncos have been deducted two Betfred Championship points for failing to fulfil their away fixture at Toulouse in April. They have also agreed to make a financial contribution in respect of the expenses Toulouse incurred as a result of the cancellation of the fixture.
The match was awarded to Toulouse with a 24-0 winning score line under the RFL’s Operational Rules and Covid-19 Protocols and the Club was charged with off field misconduct.
The Club had argued that it should not be expected to travel to Toulouse whilst travel restrictions are in place, notwithstanding the elite sports dispensation, when other clubs in the Championship have not been expected to travel.
The RFL’s position is that fulfilling fixtures is integral to the successful operating of any sport (particularly professional sport).
The RFL Board had previously determined that part-time UK based Championship clubs would not be required to travel to France to fulfil fixtures whilst there was a requirement to quarantine on their return. This was based on the fact that the players and other staff at part-time clubs have jobs outside of Rugby League that they would not be able to fulfil whilst in quarantine.
Given that trips to and from France would be by same day charter plane with the Toulouse ground being operated in accordance with the Covid-19 Protocols, the RFL Board decision was purely based on the requirement to quarantine on return to the UK, not the respective public health positions. This was consistent with the approach taken in relation to Super League and matches involving Catalans Dragons.
The RFL Board decision was communicated to all Championship clubs on 11 March 2021. The Club’s decision not to travel was made some weeks later, following concerns about the rising number of Coronavirus cases in France. The timing of the Club’s decision impacted and inconvenienced both Toulouse and the RFL.
The RFL welcomes the decision of the London Broncos to accept a sanction in order to allow all parties to move forward amicably.
The Betfred Championship table is being determined on Win Points Percentage in 2021, to allow for the possibility of matches not being played.
This punishment reduces London from 17 points to 15 from 13 matches, and reduces their Win Points Percentage (number of points divided by number of matches, multiplied by 50) from 65.38% to 57.69%. They drop from fifth to sixth in the table, below Batley Bulldogs.