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Page last updated at 08:14 GMT, Thursday, 9 April 2009 09:14 UK

Hull KR ban Cockayne until June

Ben Cockayne
Cockayne signed a new three-year contract in August

Hull KR have suspended Ben Cockayne without pay until 1 June after he was convicted of assault and given a suspended prison sentence last week.

Robins chairman Neil Hudgell told BBC Radio Humberside "dismissal was an option" considered by the club.

He said: "In view of the rightful outrage, it was probably the easy option to take.

"But we felt we had an element of responsibility to help Ben address the issues that need to be addressed."

Last week Cockayne was ordered by a court to do 240 hours of community service after pleading guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm, following an incident in Normanton town centre in November 2007.

We believe that dismissing Ben, although an easier option for the club, would not offer the rehabilitative support that Ben needs at this time

Hull KR statement

Hudgell said: "We've decided in the circumstances that we won't terminate Ben's contract but what we will do is put some measures in place that will enable him to come back into this club in the foreseeable future as a better individual and a better and more positive ambassador for the club.

"Ben was sentenced to a period of imprisonment that was suspended but on top of that he was ordered to do a period of community service.

"We think it's appropriate that Ben gets that out of the way and pays his dues to society, as it were, before he can be considered for first team selection so we've suspended Ben from first team selection either until he completes his community service or until 1 June."

The sanctions were imposed following a meeting between his representatives and the club's board of directors.

Hudgell added that Cockayne wished to reaffirm his expression of remorse for his actions and is firmly committed to undertaking the sanctions.

"He's very contrite, very apologetic, very quiet and within himself and fully understands how fortunate he's been and I think there are lessons to be learned. Clearly if he doesn't learn from those lessons, more fool him," said Hudgell.

The Rugby Football League have asked their compliance manager to investigate the incident but de-registering the player is not thought to be a likely outcome.

Last week, Castleford terminated the contract of 20-year-old part-time player Steven Hayward, who was involved in the same incident.

However, the Robins chairman hopes the RFL will not resort to similar action.

He added: "I've had dialogue with the RFL since and I can understand where they're coming from. However, I think it sets a dangerous precedent for them to become involved in de-registering players because where does that begin and where does that end?

"I'd like to think that they would reflect on the sanctions we've imposed in this instance and consider that we've dealt with the matter in conjunction with what the court has done to their satisfaction."

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