A formal investigation is being carried out by the Rugby Football League, following allegations that Leeds rugby player Zak Hardaker called referee James Child a “fucking fag” last week.
The 22 year-old Rhinos fullback is said to have made the offending comment during the teams match against Warrington last Friday.
In a statement made to The Guardian, the RFL told, “An allegation that Zak Hardaker of Leeds Rhinos made homophobic comments has been referred to the RFL compliance department, which has begun a formal investigation”. The case will be heard by the RFL next week.
According to the Press Association, Hardaker could face between a four to eight game ban. The team’s equality and diversity manager, Sarah Williams, received an MBE last year after they wore the Stonewall logo on their kit to fight homophobia.
Hardaker told followers on Twitter following the attack, “Tough day at the office, tough one to review, but it’s a new week and it’s now onto Leigh on Friday”.
Update (June 11, 2014):
Hardaker has been confirmed to be banned for five games, a decision which he has chosen not to appeal, saying on Twitter “You live and you learn and that’s life, so I’ll just make sure I come out better for it”. The Leeds Rhinos player was also fined £300 upon being found guilty of “homophobic abuse”.
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