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RugbyL: England's Hardaker charged over homophobic comment claim

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Leeds and England full-back Zak Hardaker was charged on Monday over allegations that he made a homophobic comment during a recent Super League match.

The Rugby Football League launched an investigation into comments the 22-year-old made during Leeds' 24-6 defeat at Warrington last month.

Hardaker, who last week issued an apology for his comments, is likely to face a ban of between four and eight matches when he appears in front of the RFL's disciplinary committee on Tuesday after its match-review panel ruled there was sufficient evidence to charge him.

The player is facing a grade E offence of "using verbal abuse based on race, colour, religion, gender, sexual preference, national or ethnic origin".

In Hardaker's apology, he admitted using inappropriate language and insisted his comments were aimed at Warrington captain Michael Monaghan, rather than referee James Child, which appeared to be the case.

"I have complied fully with the RFL's investigation, never looked to deny what I said and will accept their judgement," Hardaker said in his statement.

Hardaker, who was thrown out of England's World Cup squad after a breach of discipline last November, has missed only one match for his club in the last 14 months but is now in danger of missing a large chunk of the second half of the season.

Former Wakefield hooker Tevita Leo-Latu was banned for six matches in 2007 for making a racist comment to Warrington winger Kevin Penny.

Castleford were fined £40,000 ($67,000), which was later halved on appeal, in 2010 after a section of their fans made homophobic chants at openly-gay player Gareth Thomas.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140609/rugbyl-englands-hardaker-charged-over-homophobic-comment-claim