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Robert Hicks: Super League referee praised for response to death threat on social media

Referee Robert Hicks has been praised for his response to receiving a death threat on social media – after agreeing to meet the person responsible.

Hicks was the subject of a threat from a Warrington fan after a match in May.

The supporter has been given a suspended banning order following a face-to-face meeting with Hicks and Wire chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick, as well as collaboration with police.

Hicks said he thought that approach would “make a more effective point”.

He continued: “I don’t want anyone to think I’m making light of this – the incident caused significant worry and upset to my family.

“But having discussed the matter with Karl and also the police, we thought we could make a more effective point by meeting face to face with the individual concerned.

“Although it was a difficult experience for all of us, I think we all left the room thinking it had been a worthwhile exercise.”

The meeting is thought to be a first for the sport and is part of a way for the Rugby Football League to highlight their Enjoy the Game campaign and tackle unacceptable fan behaviour.

“Robert deserves a lot of credit for responding in this way, and we were happy to play our part,” Fitzpatrick added.

“We’re not the only club who has had to tackle this sort of issue this season, and I think the vast majority of supporters would concede that the levels of abuse that match officials have to receive is unfair.

“We want more people – boys and girls, men and women – to want to become match officials, and that’s only going to happen if we change the culture through the game, and make it clear that they have to be treated with respect.”

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