Reigning champions Wigan have been docked two points for allegedly breaching Super League's salary cap.
The breach, which the Rugby Football League says occurred in 2017, was announced just over 24 hours before the Warriors begin the defence of the title they won for the fifth time at Old Trafford in October.
It means that Wigan, now under new head coach Adrian Lam, will kick off the 2019 season at St Helens on Thursday night on minus two points.
— Rugby Football League (@TheRFL) January 30, 2019
Wigan have also been fined £5,000 – half of it suspended – after an independent tribunal found them guilty of breaches of the cap in 2017 in relation to six separate payments, totalling £14,700.
The RFL says the club were charged with alleged 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.