Cas fined £40,000 for Thomas abuse

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Castleford have been fined £40,000 for the homophobic abuse aimed at Gareth Thomas by a section of their crowd when they played Crusaders at The Jungle in March.

Half the fine has been suspended, but a £20,000 suspended fine imposed after bottles were thrown and match officials harassed at the game against the Catalan Dragons last season has been activated. Cas are certain to appeal against the verdict.

The tribunal found the Tigers guilty of misconduct, breaching the RFL's Respect code and conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game, for failing to stop the chanting, identify the perpetrators or hold a meaningful inquiry.

Those are findings which the club angrily rejected yesterday. "To say we are disappointed and shocked would be an understatement," said the Castleford chief executive, Richard Wright.

"The evidence does not support the decision and does not in any way support the scale of the punishment. We totally refute the outcome of the hearing."

The club's legal advisor, Rod Findlay, said that Castleford had done everything they could on the day. "There were three incidents lasting only a few moments, two of them drowned out by the PA," he said.

Thomas is the one avowedly homosexual player in the game, just as he was in Welsh rugby union before signing for Crusaders shortly after the start of the season. He has said that Castleford is the only place where he has been subjected to homophobic abuse.

Salford have extended Ashley Gibson's contract until the end of the 2012 season, while Warrington have agreed a similar deal with Mike Cooper and allowed Adam Neal to stay on loan to Salford for the rest of the season.

Warrington have confirmed that Chris Bridge will miss the rest of the season. The centre will have shoulder surgery today.

The New Zealand Warriors' Australian international prop, Steven Price, has retired at the age of 36 because of a persistent heel injury. Price had already decided to retire at the end of the season, but had hoped to play again before that.

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