Hicks meets with abusive fan

Referee Rob Hicks has met face-to-face with the Warrington fan who aimed an abusive message at him on social media.

The since deleted post contained an apparent death threat and prompted an RFL investigation.

Today, Hicks and Wolves chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick came together to stress to the supporter in person exactly how and why his behaviour was unacceptable.

Hicks said: “I don’t want anyone to think I’m making light of this – the incident caused significant worry and upset to my family.

“But having discussed the matter with Karl and also the police, we thought we could make a more effective point by meeting face to face with the individual concerned.

“We did that at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, and although it was a difficult experience for all of us, I think we all left the room thinking it had been a worthwhile exercise.”

Fitzpatrick added: “Everybody knows that we have been a bit edgier with our own use of social media this season, with the very clear aim of changing and raising the image and profile of the club and the Super League competition.

“But that brings a responsibility to make absolutely clear that certain things remain completely unacceptable – and this was very clearly an example of that.

“We’re not the only club who has had to tackle this sort of issue this season, and I think the vast majority of supporters would concede that the levels of abuse that match officials have to receive is unfair.

“We want more people – boys and girls, men and women – to want to become match officials, and that’s only going to happen if we change the culture through the game, and make it clear that they have to be treated with respect.

“We also want the Halliwell Jones Stadium to be a safe, welcoming place for children and families, and all of our supporters have a responsibility to play their part in that.

“That’s the point of the RFL’s Enjoy the Game campaign, which Warrington and all the other Betfred Super League clubs are right behind.”

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