The Rugby Football League will launch an investigation into allegations that the Leeds prop Mikolaj Oledzki was racially abused by a Warrington supporter during the Rhinos’ Super League game with the Wolves on Sunday evening.
The Polish-born 22-year-old lodged a complaint with the referee, Chris Kendall, in the closing stages of Warrington’s 27-26 victory against the Rhinos at Headingley, and said post-match he would now leave the matter with the RFL to investigate further.
“I’m really disappointed because we stand so strongly against racism and discrimination,” Oledzki said. “As a player, we all expect a bit of abuse, but there is no need for racism. We’ll leave it to the RFL to review it and see if anything can be done. I was shocked when I heard it as I’ve never experienced anything like it. There are kids in the stands and it isn’t something you want them to hear. I just want people to think about what they say.”
The RFL has now confirmed to the Guardian that the incident has been included in Kendall’s report from the game, and the matter has now been referred to the governing body’s compliance department for further investigation. Rugby league has a strong zero-tolerance policy to all forms of discrimination, underlined by its “Tackle It” campaign, launched this year.
Warrington said in a statement that they would fully support any investigation and have promised strong punishment for any individuals found guilty of abusing Oledzki. “The club is aware of allegations of racist abuse directed towards Leeds Rhinos player Mikolaj Oledzki from one of our supporters during last night’s fixture,” they said. “Warrington Wolves strongly condemns racism and discrimination and it has no place at our club, in rugby league or in society. An investigation will now take place in conjunction with Leeds Rhinos and the Rugby Football League and no further comment will be made at this stage.”
Oledzki has been one of the breakout stars of the Super League season. Born in Gdansk before moving to Leeds as a child, Oledzki made his England debut this summer in the mid-season international against the Combined Nations All Stars. He is a strong candidate to be in England’s World Cup squad if the tournament goes ahead, with a final decision on that expected in the coming days.