Hull KR left fuming by length of Boudebza ban


Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell has hit out at the Rugby Football League, labelling the organisation's disciplinary process "not fit for purpose" after John Boudebza received a four-match ban for a tackle on Michael Shenton.

Castleford Tigers skipper Shenton is set to miss the entire 2016 Super League season after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament as a result of a tackle from Boudebza in Sunday's opening-round draw at Craven Park.

However, Rovers maintain there was no intent on the part of their player and have expressed outrage at Boudebza receiving a ban - subsequently upheld on appeal - outside of the recommended grading for such an offence.

"Yet again the RFL disciplinary process has shown itself not fit for purpose," said Hudgell in a club statement on Thursday.

"In inadvertently re-affirming the same four-match penalty before taking submissions, it can be reasonably assumed that the decision of the appeal panel had been pre-judged to support the initial flawed findings, even though this was meant to be a re-hearing of the matter from new.

"I invite anyone to review the tackle and tell me it doesn't happen 20 times in every game.

"In this instance a serious injury occurred and I have every sympathy with the player [Shenton] but you cannot ban a player for inflicting an injury caused by the type of tackle effected literally hundreds of times over a season.

"It is appalling that the RFL official 'prosecuting' was allowed to introduce inadmissible evidence. He chairs the match review panel and has never played the game. None of the serving members involved in this process have coached in many years, if at all, so have no experience of modern tackling techniques.

"In finding the tackle was 'careless' it defies logic that the panel then stepped outside the normal range of penalties for the grade of offence. It is equally appalling that the Castleford head coach [Daryl Powell] can make post-match comments intended to inflame and prejudice this matter, something in relation to which we ought to complain, but expect it to fall on deaf ears.

"It is a sorry situation when a senior figure in one club goes out of their way to publicly influence the suspension of a player at a rival club. Our fans have talked about boycotting the return fixture in protest, and I have every sympathy with their frustrations.

"I feel desperately sorry for the player [Boudebza], who is distraught, to now be labelled the sort of player who inflicts serious injury on another.

"The match review panel and judiciary have set themselves a very high bar here in maintaining a consistency throughout the season, one I'm prepared to wager they don't have the necessary skill set of seeing through beyond round three."