A London player has been banned for four matches and fined for using foul and abusive language towards a match official.
Half-back James Meadows was charged following an incident that occurred while he was playing for Sheffield, on dual-reg, against Leigh at the end of July.
The charge stated: “In the Panel’s opinion, you used foul and abusive language towards a Match Official and questioned the integrity of the Match Official.
“The Panel believed that your actions were unnecessary and constitute Misconduct.
“You specifically used the language “you’re a f**king d**khead” and “you’re a cheating d**khead” at the referee.
“In accordance with the RFL’s On Field Sentencing Guidelines, the Panel consider that such an offence is a Grade D offence.
“In accordance with the On Field Sentencing Guidelines, the normal suspension range for such offence is 3 to 5 matches.”
Meadows pleaded not guilty to the charges and the hearing was conducted by telephone, attended by the player and London coach Danny Ward.
The panel’s findings continued: “The player accepts he used foul language towards the
official but denies questioning the integrity of the official by calling him a cheat at any time.
“The incident was caused by frustration on behalf of the player who believed the referee
made an incorrect decision on the field.
“It is argued that the player did not make two separate comments towards the
“Two opponents who were in the vicinity both heard abusive language from the player but did not hear the word cheat or any other words that questioned the integrity of the
“The DVD shows the player did not have the opportunity to make two comments towards the official before he was dismissed from the field of play after the final hooter.
“The player apologised for his abusive comments towards the official, which were born out of frustration.
“Player indicated he was putting his arm out towards the official as he approached him appealing for a knock on.
“Player accepts his actions may looked aggressive and were as a result of frustration.”
The panel took into account DVD footage, the player’s account and submissions made by the referee, while also noting emails received from the player’s opponents “who heard abusive language but no other language that questioned the integrity of the official”.
But the report adds: “It is noted there was no statement from the player’s own team mate who was close to the incident and appears to push him away from the Official.
“The referee in his evidence was very clear of the language used.
“It is obvious that the player does aggressively approach the official after the decision.
“The referee indicates the language was used on two separate occasions.
“This tribunal feel the player had the opportunity to do this. This tribunal have no reason to disbelieve the official and find this player guilty of misconduct.”
As a result, the panel imposed a sanction of a four-game ban and a £250 fine, adding: “Any type of abuse towards an official is unacceptable.
“Abuse that questions the integrity of the official will not be tolerated by the
tribunal and will be treated as a serious matter.
“In deciding the appropriate sanction the tribunal take into consideration the
player’s good previous character and accept it was a heat of the moment action.
“However, the player is a Super League player playing in the Championship and has some responsibility for his actions.”