Widnes could ban fans who invaded Leigh Sports Village pitch

Widnes fans taunt the Castleford supporters at Leigh Sports Village
Widnes fans taunt the Castleford supporters at Leigh Sports Village

Widnes are hoping the publication of photographs will help bring to justice fans who caused trouble at the end of the club’s Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Castleford on Sunday at Leigh Sports Village.

The Super League club, who say they intend to issue banning orders on supporters found guilty of misbehaviour, have published images of pitch invaders on their website.

Widnes chief executive James Rule said: “We are working closely with RFL who are in turn liaising with police and the crowd safety team at Leigh Sports Village who were there on the day of the event.

“We have been inundated with hundreds of emails all providing invaluable information for the investigation team and have gathered intelligence to identify the individuals who entered the field of play.

“It’s essential we are 100 per cent accurate in our data because in addition to pursuing banning orders we are also exploring with the police where it’s possible for criminal prosecutions to be brought against individuals. It’s therefore essential that we prepare our case professionally.”

The Rugby Football League is awaiting reports from the stadium, the police and the two clubs before deciding what action to take but Castleford chief executive Steve Gill is urging the governing body not to punish the Vikings.

“We don’t think as a club that Widnes Vikings should be punished,” Gill said. “We know it was a small minority, it was not the club’s fault.

“You have got to look at the bigger picture and how we can stamp this out of the game as a whole. Fining a club won’t make it any better.”

Rule added: “I know I speak for my fellow directors, the staff, players, and the vast majority of supporters when I say the last few days have been exceptionally difficult for us all.

“When you care about something as much as we care about this club, it’s very hard to see its reputation being torn to pieces by a mindless minority. It would be very easy to become disillusioned by such actions.

“However, I believe we should take the opposite mindset and use this shameful episode to galvanise the true supporters and motivate us all to continue to strive to grow our great club.

“We must take every step possible to bring the individuals to task but also ensure that those scenes are never repeated.”