Catalans Dragons have been fined £25,000 following the misbehaviour of their supporters during the Super League play-off fixture against Leeds in September.
Half of the fine has been suspended until the end of the 2023 season.
Further crowd misbehaviour will lead to an unprecedented punishment in the Super League era. They will be forced to play two home games behind closed doors. That sanction has also been suspended until the end of 2023.
It follows multiple previous incidents of either spectator troubles and unacceptable criticism of match officials.
Catalans owner Bernard Guasch was previously fined £10,000 for his comments following their Grand Final defeat to St Helens in 2021.
The decisions of the match officials in their loss to St Helens in October frustrated Guasch. He then vowed never again to allow his team to play a final under English referees.
Back in August 2019, both Catalans and Warrington had been fined for crowd trouble during a match in Perpignan.
Sam Tomkins and Michael McIlorum were both sent off during the fixture, with more fighting in the stands. Television replays showed Warrington fans trying to climb into the hospitality area at the Stade Gilbert Brutus.
Catalans were fined £27,500 and Warrington £15,000 after both clubs acknowledged the events brought the game into disrepute.
Catalans Dragons receive heavy punishment
Robert Hicks, the RFL’s director of operations and legal, said: “This is a strong punishment and it is significant and welcome that this is a decision that has been agreed with the Catalans club.
“The presence of their club and the passion of their supporters has enhanced the Super League competition significantly for more than a decade, but the scenes during and after the Play-Off fixture in September were the latest in a number of unacceptable incidents.
“The RFL welcomes the assurance from the Catalans club that they will work proactively with their supporters to ensure a more welcoming environment for all, including match officials, from 2023.”
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