SAINTS chairman Eamonn McManus has been fined £3,000 for the comments he made in the club programme, backed up in a further press release, following August’s Challenge Cup Final shock defeat by Warrington Wolves.

In those notes McManus lambasted the appointment of referee Robert Hicks for the Wembley final and some of the calls the official made during the game.

The fine imposed, of which £1,000 is suspended until the end of the 2020 season, has been reached by way of an Agreed Decision in accordance with RFL processes.

In his programme notes for the Castleford Tigers Super League game on 30 August – six days after the shock Wembley defeat - McManus wrote that it was incomprehensible that Hicks did not go to the video for Morgan Knowles' "clear and legitimate opening try" and then "followed it up shortly with other highly questionable decisions".

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He also highlighted the brokering of a meeting by Warrington CEO Karl Fitpatrick between Hicks and the Warrington supporter who had issued the ref with a death threat on Twitter, describing that as a "stunt".

However, McManus accepts that those comments breached the Operational Rules and accepts the sanction.

Karen Moorhouse, RFL Chief Regulatory Officer, said: “Match officials are hardworking, impartial, and deserving of respect and support.

“Theirs is a difficult job and without them there is no game.

“Through the Enjoy the Game campaign we encourage professional clubs to set an example for the rest of the sport, to support the recruitment and retention of match officials, and to promote the mental and physical wellbeing of match officials alongside that of players and coaches.

“We will be working with clubs to reinforce the importance of the Enjoy the Game campaign during the off-season.”

The fine is consistent with previous decisions made in comparable circumstances.