The current holders will begin their title defence on minus two points after failing to declare six separate payments to the RFL
Super League champions Wigan Warriors have been docked two points for a salary cap breach.
The breach occurred during 2017 and the penalty, which includes a £5,000 fine, relates to six separate payments totalling £14,700, which were not declared to the Rugby Football League.
It means that Wigan Warriors, now under new head coach Adrian Lam, will begin their title defence at St Helens on Thursday night on minus two points.
The RFL says the club were charged with breaches in late 2018, following the audit of the 2017 salary cap, in relation to a number of payments that were not declared, including the payment of agent fees and a flight allowance.
The Warriors initially disputed that these payments were relevant to the salary cap, leading to the establishment of the independent tribunal, but then admitted prior to the tribunal that all but one of the payments should have been included in their salary-cap valuation for the season.
Wigan intend to appeal against the points deduction, arguing it is disproportionate.
The club claim the breach was due to an administrative error arising from six small invoices of between £2,000 and £3,000 for agents’ fees which were overlooked and meant they exceeded the £1.825million cap by 0.8 per cent.
Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan said: “This is not an integrity or dishonesty issue, purely an administrative error by a new financial team in an exceptionally busy and disruptive circumstance.
“This breach clearly did not affect the competitive balance of the competition in 2017 yet the immediate deduction of two points does affect the competitive balance of the competition in 2019.”