Howe of Fife players to get bans after ‘initiation’ incident

Howe of Fife pavilion
Howe of Fife pavilion

Players at the scandal-hit Howe of Fife Rugby Club are to receive staggered bans this season after an “unacceptable” incident on the team bus.

The SRU has been conducting an investigation into an incident which took place last September.

Police had initially been involved after an apparent ‘initiation’ ceremony caused concern, and now club staff will attend training courses to learn about acceptable behaviour.

Club president Chris Reekie said that the club quite keen to move forward.

“It is quite unacceptable for an incident of that nature to have happened,” he said.

“The club regrets the incident.

“The players and officials have been given bans, some may appeal, they have that right. But there have been suspensions on players which will take place throughout the season.

“They accept their responsibility and they will take their punishment.

“They’ll be taking their bans throughout the season at different times to allow the club to continue. If you removed a number of players then you wouldn’t get a first 15 or second 15 operating effectively and that would be detrimental to rugby.

“There is a huge effort going into where the club goes from here.

“The club has to be responsible for the incident that happened, and there’s a new group of trustees.

“We are a friendly club, we are progressive, and we are very much an inclusive club. I think that’s going to be the strong ethics of what the club will be driving forward.

“We’re looking to create the right atmosphere and environment where everybody can come along and feel they’ll be welcomed and can be very much part of what is a very strong foundation that goes back 70 years.

“They (the SRU) are recommending that there are a number of events that we’ll organise and the club members, trustees, and directors will take part in, which will look at the cultural behaviour.

“It’s part of a process which should be welcomed, to initiate change and develop and culture and an ethos for the future.”

The SRU has refused to comment on the matter.

Last September, two club members, aged 20 and 22, were arrested and charged with sexual assault following the incident, which was allegedly part of an ‘initiation’ ceremony that took place as the bus travelled between venues. However, the case never went to court.

A Crown Office spokesman said at the time: “The Procurator Fiscal received a report concerning two men aged 20 and 22 in connection with an alleged incident on September 24, 2016.

“After full and careful consideration of all facts and circumstances the case was dealt with by way of an alternative to prosecution (Direct Measure).”

Direct measures include warnings, fiscal fines, compensation orders, work orders and social work diversion schemes.