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The BBC's Neil Bennett
"Identified trouble makers face criminal prosecution and life time bans"
 real 28k

The BBC's Dave Woods
"Condemnation has been universal"
 real 28k

Chairman of the RFL Sir Rodney Walker
"To have witnessed what I've seen today sickens me"
 real 28k

The RFL's Neil Tunnicliffe
"Every club is responsible for the actions of players, officials and spectators"
 real 28k

Monday, 27 March, 2000, 11:46 GMT
Hull to hand out life bans

The stadium's big screen shows the scene during the trouble
Hull have warned that supporters found responsible for the violence at Sunday's Challenge Cup semi-final will receive life bans from the club.

The East Yorkshire side face being thrown out of next year's cup after the pitch invasion which followed the 28-22 defeat by Leeds.

The Rugby Football League (RFL) began an investigation on Monday into the unprecedented outbreak of lawlessness at Huddersfield's McAlpine Stadium.

Meanwhile Hull chief executive Shane Richardson said the club would weed out the trouble-makers themselves.

It makes me feel like packing it in but, if I did that, they've won. My message to them is go away and don't come again

Hull chairman Kath Hetherington
"We will fix it internally because the only way it can be solved is by solving it ourselves," said Richardson.

A freephone hotline service has been set up for people to pass on further information.

The match was followed by a pitch invasion, during which some Hull fans tore down one of the goalposts.

Mounted police officers and dog-handlers had to be employed to clear the pitch in front of live BBC television cameras.

Leeds fans were also goaded in an incident which damaged rugby league's image as a family sport with little history of supporter violence.

Goalposts were torn down, landing on a steward
League officials have promised to do everything in their power to try to restore this reputation, including punishing the losing semi-finalists.

RFL chairman Sir Rodney Walker warned suspension from the Challenge Cup might not be the only sanction.

"I never thought I would see rugby league spectators behave in that way," he said.

"It was deplorable. We expect the punishment meted out to be the severest available to us and I know the rest of the game will support the action, however draconian, that we decide to take."

It was silly because rugby league is a family game and there is never any trouble. Hopefully, it's a one-off incident

Leeds captain Iestyn Harris
Richardson admitted to shock at what he saw on Sunday, and promised tough action.

"At the end of the day, the Rugby League can carry out their own sanctions and all sorts of things but Hull FC have got to look it at themselves," said Richardson.

"We've got to clean ourselves up. We had 8,500 people there yesterday and 8,000 of them were well behaved, 500 of them weren't.

"What happened was totally intolerable and it certainly doesn't reflect Hull and what our genuine fans are like.

"Those people that were involved in yesterday's disgraceful scenes will be banned from the club for life."

Richardson joined Hull this winter after a merger with the Gateshead club he founded before last season.

He was due to hold meetings with fans and ex-player groups in Hull on Monday.

Leeds' win was overshadowed
Meanwhile the chief executive praised the restraint shown by Leeds supporters, who remained in their seats during the provocation.

"We just want to say thank you to Leeds for not being enticed by the mindless rabble in front of them."

West Yorkshire police said 14 people had been charged with public order offences, including nine adults and two juveniles from Hull and a further two adults and one juvenile from Leeds.

The 11 adults had been bailed to appear at Huddersfield Magistrates Court on Wednesday. Three juveniles will appear on Thursday.

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See also:

26 Mar 00 | Rugby League
Rhinos edge out Daylight
25 Mar 00 | Rugby League
Bulls charge to Murrayfield
Links to other Rugby League stories are at the foot of the page.