Bradford elicit apology from coach Fox

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Peter Fox, the Bradford coach, has been severely reprimanded by the club's board of directors and warned about his future conduct following complaints from supporters.

But Bradford have accepted an unqualified public apology from the coach following an incident after the game against Featherstone at Odsal last month, when Fox made a "derogatory gesture" towards a section of home supporters.

The club received numerous complaints from fans and the board considered all the correspondence, as well as hearing from Fox, before reaching their decision. A statement from the club said: "The directors viewed with extreme seriousness the conduct of the coach following the Featherstone game. The directors place great store in the club's supporters, who are the lifeblood of Bradford Northern ... and anything that does, or which might, have the effect of alienating that support cannot, and will not, be tolerated.

"At last night's hearing, Mr Fox said he was prepared to, and did, give an unqualified apology to all Bradford Northern supporters for his conduct following the Featherstone game.

"This weighed heavily with the directors, who felt that on this occasion it was right that Mr Fox be severely reprimanded as to his conduct and warned that any future transgressions of this nature would not be tolerated. The offer of an unqualified public apology by Mr Fox was accepted."

A rugby league player in New Zealand has died in hospital as a result of injuries received during a match on Wednesday.

Falani Latoa is thought to have broken his windpipe when he fell on to the ball while playing for the Auckland side North Harbour in one of the Auckland Warriors' trial matches in preparation for their entry into the Winfield Cup next weekend.

"It is just tragic and very difficult to cope with," the North Harbour manager, Gary Cooksley, said. "You could go to a million football games and not see anything like this."

Graham Carden, the president of the New Zealand Rugby League, said that Latoa had received immediate attention on the field from a doctor, assisted by a physiotherapist.

Latoa, who had represented his home country of Niue in the Pacific Cup and was in his first season with North Harbour, was married and his wife is expecting their second child.

Deaths as a result of playing injuries have been rare during the 100 years of rugby league. Chris Sanderson, the Leeds half-back, died minutes after being carried off in a game at Salford in 1977 and there have been occasional deaths in amateur games.