Whole team axed! Lebanon’s crazy reaction to protest
Lebanon rugby league officials have taken the extraordinary step of suspending the entire team as tensions between players and the federation explode following the recent Test against Fiji.
The Lebanese Rugby League Federation issued a statement on Monday saying the players, including NRL stars Robbie Farah, Mitchell Moses, Tim Mannah and Josh Mansour, involved in the 58-14 loss to Fiji at Leichhardt Oval on June 22, had been suspended until the misconduct proceedings are resolved.
"The Lebanese Rugby League Federation has charged 17 persons with misconduct for breaches of its operational rules in relation to events surrounding the 22 June match versus Fiji," the LRLF said in a statement.
"Those charged will be asked to appear before a Misconduct Panel and have been suspended with immediate effect from all Lebanese rugby league activity pending the outcome of misconduct proceedings.
"The Misconduct Panel will be independent in composition and chaired by an RLIF official to ensure transparency.
"The 17 charged are: Adam Douehi, Toufic El Hajj, Michel El Tom, Ahmad Ellaz, Robbie Farah, Nick Kassis, Anthony Layoun, Michael Lichaa, Bilal Maarbani, Tim Mannah, Josh Mansour, Abbas Miski, Mitchel Moses, James Roumanos, Chris Saab, Ali Saad, George Yazbek."
The standoff between the Lebanese federation and the players stems from the 2017 World Cup, from which the playing group believe not enough has been done to capitalise on the team's success in the tournament.
Wests Tigers hooker Farah recently warned that Lebanon risked falling further behind the likes of Tonga and Samoa, while the players were also critical of the Lebanon domestic competition.
The players had threatened to cover up the Cedars' logo during the recent clash against Fiji, but backed down after they were threatened with sanctions from the governing body.
That didn't stop the national federation issuing Monday's sanctions, including immediate international suspension of all 17 players, despite their being no upcoming fixtures on the Lebanese calendar.