Wigan suspend prop Tony Clubb after investigation launched into alleged racism

Wigan have suspended prop forward Tony Clubb pending the outcome of an investigation into alleged racism.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 2:55 pm
Updated Friday, 30th April 2021, 2:56 pm
Tony Clubb. Picture: SWPix

Hull second rower Andre Savelio claimed he was the subject of a racial slur during the first half of his side’s Betfred Super League defeat by the Warriors at the DW Stadium on Thursday night.

The incident was placed on report by referee James Child and both clubs on Friday issued a joint statement revealing they have launched a joint internal investigation.

Both clubs say they are determined to demonstrate a strong and united approach against racial abuse on the day rugby league as a whole joined the sporting boycott of social media platforms in a bid to tackle online discrimination and abuse.

Wigan executive director Kris Radlinski said: “There is no room for racism in sport in any form and we take the accusations made by Hull’s Andre Savelio very seriously.

“Our immediate intention is to work closely with Hull and the governing body to gather all the facts and support the investigation process that is in place.

“In the short term, Tony Clubb will be suspended from all club activities.

“Tony’s evidence will be taken into consideration by all parties moving forward and his welfare will remain a responsibility of Wigan Warriors throughout the investigation.”

Hull chief executive James Clark said: “Andre has the full support of everyone at our club and we will work hard to ensure this incident is thoroughly investigated and that his voice can be heard. Racial abuse is not acceptable in any form.

“This is obviously an emotive and highly personal subject and he has access to the best possible welfare network should it be required.

“A zero-tolerance approach to all forms of abuse is prevalent in Rugby League – we are a welcoming sport that prides itself on its core values of inclusion, community, diversity and respect.”

A spokesman for the Rugby Football League says it will follow the normal process, with its match review panel considering the incident on Monday, following the completion of all round five fixtures.

The panel will decide whether or not to bring charges – which would be heard by an independent operational rules tribunal on Tuesday – but also has the option to refer the matter for further investigation.

In advance of that, the RFL has already sought submissions from the clubs and requested footage from Sky Sports. In addition, welfare support has been offered through Rugby League Cares.

“This is a serious and high-profile allegation, but our procedures will remain the same,” the spokesman said.

New Zealand-born Savelio took to social media to give his version of events, insisting that he “won’t sit quietly” after making the allegation.

He said on Twitter: “Listen there’s no reason at all for me to lie, I didn’t report it initially as I was going to deal with it myself the next time we came into contact, he got taken off after and never came back on.

“For him to call me a ‘stupid Polynesian ****’ in a game where 30 per cent are of that heritage, hell I won’t sit quietly.

“I’ve seen these things happen enough to know most of the time there’s never enough proof on these – but I swear it on my mum’s… I’m just hopeful a camera or microphone clocked it and it’s dealt with.”

Wigan coach Adrian Lam said in the post-match press conference: “I got the news, but I have no comment at the moment until we get to the bottom of what the allegation actually is.”

Hull coach Brett Hodgson said: “I don’t know too much to be honest. We will just have to wait and see. It is very disappointing.”