Featherstone Rovers sack former England forward Griffin for playing rugby union

Rovers have dismissed Darrell Griffin with immediate effect.
Rovers have dismissed Darrell Griffin with immediate effect.

FORMER England prop Darrell Griffin has been dismissed with immediate effect by Featherstone Rovers due to a serious breach of contract.

The 36-year-old former Super League forward was suspended in December pending an internal investigation on grounds of gross misconduct.

The investigation concluded that Griffin had made three unauthorised appearances for Morley Rugby Union Football Club while under contract as a Featherstone Rovers player.

Griffin agreed a new one-year contract with Rovers towards the end of last season.

While negotiations progressed, the ex-Leeds, Wakefield, Huddersfield and Salford player was categorically told not to partake in rugby union. These clear terms were also added into his contract.

At a disciplinary hearing on December 11, club officials discussed allegations made against Griffin regarding the contravening of ‘Clause 13’ of the Rugby Football League (RFL) players’ contract.

The Rovers’ legal advisers stated Griffin’s appearances for a rugby union club, without written permission from the club chairman or chief executive - as per the RFL players’ contract, was an act of serious insubordination. This is an example of gross misconduct.

Featherstone general manager Davide Longo said: “A player’s contract is designed to protect both the player and the club and any breach of it, on either side, has to be taken very seriously.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to gross misconduct. Without this, you set a dangerous precedent.

“We are undoubtedly disappointed by Darrell’s decision to play another contact sport while under contract with the club.

“RFL players’ contracts clearly state that permission to do so must be granted, in writing, by a chief executive or chairman.

“Darrell did not seek such permission and, given the club’s position and desire to achieve as much as possible in 2018, it would not have been granted under any circumstances.

“At the time of agreeing Darrell’s new contract, we made it extremely clear that he was not to play rugby union. This condition was added to his written contract, which Darrell signed in August 2017.”

Griffin exercised his right of appeal and he and a union representative attended a hearing on January 5.

The decision to dismiss the former England international was upheld and Griffin was informed of this outcome earlier today.

Featherstone Rovers have stated the club will be making no further comment.