The Rugby Western Australia Conduct Committee hearing into alleged breaches of the Australian Rugby Union Code of Conduct by Matt Henjak and Haig Sare that was adjourned on Wednesday 13 February 2008 was reconvened at 4.00pm today (Aus time).
The hearing has been concluded and the following statement from the Conduct Committee details its findings and decisions as reported by Rugby WA Chairman, Geoff Stooke:
“CONDUCT COMMITTEE STATEMENT” –“The Committee has found that both Haig Sare and Matt Henjak breached the ARU Code of Conduct and the terms of their contract.Having considered all the circumstances surrounding the incident on the 10th of February 2008, submissions by their counsel and relevant prior record, the Committee has decided on the penalties mentioned below.The incident involved both players fighting in public, the Committee wishes to make it clear that such misconduct by the Emirates Western Force cannot be tolerated because of its substantial harm caused to all stakeholders.
In relation to Haig Sare’s culpability in the incident was considerably less than Matt Henjak, none the less the Committee considered it very serious in view of the fact that it was in the public domain.
The Committee has determined that the appropriate penalty for Haig Sare is the maximum fine available rounded off to $5,000 such fine to be paid from his net wages, and a suspension for a period of eight weeks effective from and including 15 February 2008.
In relation to Matt Henjak in addition to fighting in public the Committee was satisfied that he savagely punched Haig Sare when Haig was sitting down vulnerable and unable to defend himself. The Committee was unable to find any justification for that assault which probably caused Haig Sare’s jaw to be broken This conduct demonstrated, on the part of Matt Henjak gross irresponsibility and disloyalty to all Emirates Western Force Stakeholders.
In light of the circumstances and in particular Matt Henjak’s prior record the Committee recommended that the contract of Matt Henjak with the Emirates Western Force be terminated forthwith.”
The RugbyWA Board has met tonight and has acknowledged the findings and decisions of the Conduct Committee.
In accordance with the ARU Code of Conduct, the findings and decisions are subject to review by the Australian Rugby Union in consultation with RugbyWA.
The termination of a contract can only be approved by the ARU based on a recommendation from the Conduct Committee.
RugbyWA and the Emirates Western Force wishes to apologise to all its members, supporters, sponsors and all involved in Western Australian and Australian rugby for what has occurred. It is unacceptable and the penalties imposed reflect the serious nature of the breaches.
RugbyWA and the Emirates Western Force do not have a culture of alcohol abuse and anti social behaviour. What it does have is a small number of individuals who have let the organisation down badly by their unacceptable actions.
A need exists to help manage much of the behaviour and lifestyle issues relating to young men involved in professional sport and RugbyWA takes this responsibility very seriously. From time to time issues will arise with players and our initial approach is to not simply penalise but to also counsel and rehabilitate where possible. In support of this RugbyWA has in place various in-house programs relating to alcohol use and other lifestyle and social issues. For some time RugbyWA has engaged the services of experts in the areas of psychology, health, personal development and management to assist in these programs.
Despite having no major incidents in the first two years since the team’s establishment, this incident and the other major incident that occurred some months ago clearly indicates that more work is needed and the Board has resolved that this work will be done!
RugbyWA and the Emirates Western Force are committed to protecting the rugby brand and the interests of all those who are associated with and support our great game. At the same time, as a responsible employer, it will do all it can to support the welfare of its employees, including the player group. However, whilst on field performance is extremely important, it WILL NOT be put ahead of brand and culture!
This has been a difficult week for RugbyWA and the Emirates Western Force and we would like to thank all staff and management for their efforts during this time. We would also like to thank the Australian Rugby Union for their support and assistance.Tweet