Ralph Rimmer: RFL chief executive avoids sanction for Fiji comment

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer, who is leaving his role at the end of the year, was investigated after a complaint was made over comments he made about the Fiji national team at the Championship and League One awards dinner on September 26

Last Updated: 07/10/22 6:32pm

Ralph Rimmer was investigated for comments made at a recent awards dinner

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer has avoided any sanctions for using “unacceptable” language at an official function.

The governing body launched an investigation into Rimmer’s actions after receiving a complaint over comments he made about the Fiji national team at the Championship and League One awards dinner on September 26.

The RFL says it followed procedures under the Directors’ Code of Conduct, led by the RFL chair Simon Johnson, who submitted a 21-page report to the RFL Board and to Rimmer, who announced last month his intention to step down from his role at the end of the year.

It said the procedures involved gathering of information from three independent experts, in addition to a number of attendees at the dinner, and a statement from Rimmer – who apologised for his comments.

Views from the Fiji Rugby League and their World Cup travelling party were also sought.

“The report concluded that the language fell within the wide definition of unacceptable language as defined in the RFL’s Operational Rules and therefore could be considered to breach the Code of Conduct,” A statement from the governing body said.

“However, it noted that the comment was taken within the context of a wider discussion of the World Cup; that any insult of the Fiji national team or of people from Fiji or of Fijian origin or heritage was unintended; and that the Fiji national team, the Federation and the Confederation have accepted Ralph Rimmer’s apology for the comments.

“Noting the agreement of all consulted that there was no intent in the use of the unacceptable language; that a fulsome apology was issued and accepted; and taking into account relevant and applicable precedent, from other sports and previous RFL compliance investigations, the decision of the chair is that no formal disciplinary action is appropriate.

“The matter will be dealt with through education, to be conducted during the three months before Ralph Rimmer’s previously-announced departure from the RFL at the end of the year.”

The statement was issued two hours before Fiji were due to play England in a Rugby League World Cup warm-up game at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium.

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