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Last Updated: Friday, 11 August 2006, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Wigan back in mire after penalty
Rugby League
Wigan were dealt a new blow in their fight to avoid relegation when they were docked two points for breaching the Super League salary cap.

The club were also fined 50,000 for spending more than the permitted 50% of their income on salaries in 2005.

The penalty puts Wigan level on points with Wakefield and Catalans at the foot of the table with just five games left.

Bradford also have a "case to answer" relating to alleged salary cap breaches and will face a hearing on 14 August.

Wigan, who blamed the overspend on injuries to their existing squad, said they would not appeal against the punishment.

"We have accepted the findings of the RFL independent panel to which we pleaded guilty. It was a difficult season savaged by injury," said chairman Maurice Lindsay.

"We must now redouble our efforts and put everything we have got into the remaining five games of the season."

A statement from the Rugby Football League said: "The panel found that in the course of the breach, the Wigan club was guilty of conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game. They have been fined 50,000 plus costs in respect of this."

With French side Catalans immune to relegation for the next three years, Wigan's position is very precarious.

They looked to be winning their battle to stay up after recording six victories in their last seven games, but the points deduction is a major setback.

Wakefield were also found guilty of breaching the salary cap, as were Castleford, Hull and St Helens, but the infringements were only minor.

Wakefield and Castleford were cautioned while Hull and St Helens were fined 5,000.

The four clubs found guilty have a right to appeal against the compliance commissioner's decision.

Hull have accepted the punishment, revealing that 4,000 of the fine has been suspended.

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"The board are determined to give our coaching staff the maximum opportunity to be successful while working as closely to the salary cap as possible," said Hull chief executive David Plummer.

"Unfortunately it is possible to inadvertently exceed that limit."

In addition to the 1.8m maximum player wage cap, clubs are also bound by the "20/20 rule" whereby they can only have a maximum of 20 players earning in excess of 20,000 a year.

St Helens, Hull and Halifax were the last Super League clubs to be punished for breaching salary cap rules, back in 2003.

All three had overspent in 2002 and were deducted two points.

Punishments can range from a fine to a deduction of six points depending on the size of the breach.



SEE ALSO
Wigan hit back over salary claims
23 Jun 06 |  Wakefield
Noble praises salary cap effect
24 Jan 06 |  Bradford
Wigan to fight cap change
05 Feb 04 |  Wigan
Hull call for cap changes
17 Jul 03 |  Super League
Champions lose points
29 May 03 |  Super League


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