RFL and Widnes to probe Sports Village pitch invasion

Widnes fans taunt the Castleford supporters at Leigh Sports Village after yesterday's Challenge Cup semi final
Widnes fans taunt the Castleford supporters at Leigh Sports Village after yesterday's Challenge Cup semi final

THE Rugby Football League is deciding what action to take after some Widnes supporters invaded the pitch at Leigh Sports Village at the end of yesterday’s game between Castleford and Widnes.

A statement read: “Following the incident involving some spectators at the end of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi-final at Leigh Sports Village between Castleford Tigers and Widnes Vikings, the RFL will await reports from the stadium, the police and the two clubs before deciding what action to take.

“The behaviour of the vast majority of fans was exemplary and the incident was not what is expected from Rugby League supporters. This should not detract from two very successful semi-finals.”

RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood said: “The sport has every right to be disappointed with the behaviour of a minority of Widnes fans. We will work with the clubs to identify any supporters who encroached onto the pitch. There is no place for such behaviour in Rugby League.

“True Rugby League supporters are renowned for their good nature at all occasions such as this and we will not hesitate to use whatever measures are available to us to protect these precious values.”

Widnes have spoken of their shame after the “sickening” crowd trouble.

The club have vowed to investigate the violent pitch invasion which occurred immediately after the Vikings were beaten 28-6.

Fans from the Widnes end ran onto the pitch after the game and approached rival supporters in a provocative manner. Castleford supporters appeared not to respond to any goading but violence did break out as police and stewards attempted to restore order.

Many pictures of the trouble have emerged via social media, including one of the head being removed from one of Castleford’s tiger mascots and kicked away.

One female spectator suffered a sprained ankle after being caught up in the chaos, the Rugby Football League confirmed.

Widnes chief executive James Rule said: “It’s sickening to see such shameful scenes perpetrated by a minority of ‘supporters’.

“We will now work closely with RFL and police and carry out a full investigation.

“The club’s recruitment drive for next season has been put on hold until such time that we can establish the full cost to the club for today’s actions.

“We will work fully with the RFL and the BBC to identify each and every individual that brought shame to the good name of our club.”