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Bans totalling 26 weeks issued

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26 weeks worth of bans handed out - ranging from spitting to alleged racist abuse

The EPCR has been busy sanctioning multiple players for misdemeanors during the Heineken Champions Cup, Challenge Cup and Continental Shield.

The bans total out at 26 weeks with players and coaches pulled up for offences which included spitting and racist abuse, among others, and were punished following various independent disciplinary hearings in Paris.

16 weeks-worth of bans were handed out from one particularly feisty match.

In the Champions Cup Castres Olympique replacement prop, Tudor Stroe, has been suspended for three weeks following arising from his club’s Round 5 match against Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park.

Stroe was sent off by the referee, George Clancy (Ireland), in the 59th minute of the match for striking the Exeter Chiefs centre, Ollie Devoto, with his arm in contravention of Law 9.12.

An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Gareth Graham (England), Chair, Leon Lloyd (England) and Frank Hadden (Scotland), heard evidence and submissions from Stroe, who accepted the red card decision, from the Castres Olympique Managing Director, Matthias Rolland, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The Committee upheld the red card decision and found that the act of foul play was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected six weeks as the appropriate entry point.

As there were no aggravating factors, and due to Stroe’s guilty plea and early expression of remorse, the Committee reduced the sanction by the maximum amount of 50% before imposing a suspension of three weeks.

Stroe is free to play on Monday, 18 February 2019 and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

In the Challenge Cup Perpignan replacement prop, Nicolas Lemaire, has been suspended for seven weeks arising from last weekend’s match against Bordeaux-Bègles at Stade Aimé Giral.

Lemaire was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Wayne Sheridan (Ireland), for tackling the Bordeaux-Bègles wing, Nicolas Plazy, in a dangerous lifting manner in the 62nd minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.18. The player was shown a yellow card by the referee, Karl Dickson (England), following the incident.

An independent Disciplinary Committee accepted the charge of foul play, from the Perpignan legal representative, Pierre Becque, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The Committee upheld the complaint as Lemaire’s tackle warranted a red card and found that the act of foul play was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected 10 weeks as the appropriate entry point.

Taking into consideration the player’s poor disciplinary record, the Committee decided to reduce the sanction by only three weeks before imposing a seven-week suspension, which means he currently won’t be available until March 25th.

But it’s in the Continental Shield where the heaviest punishment has been meted out, with the Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo coach, Umberto Casellato, suspended for eight weeks for verbal abuse.

The incident happened during the club’s Continental Shield, Round 5 match against Argos Rugby Petrarca at the Argos Arena.

Casellato was shown a red card and ordered to leave the playing area by the referee, Shota Tevzadze (Georgia), for verbally abusing the Argos Rugby Petrarca scrum half, Jeremy Su’a, during the second half of the match in contravention of Law 9.12.

An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Jean-Noel Couraud (France), Chair, Frank Hadden (Scotland) and Achille Reali (Italy) heard evidence and submissions from Casellato, from the Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo representative, Joe van Niekerk, from the club’s legal representatives, Lanfranco Massimi and Federico Cogo, as well as from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

In evidence, Casellato accepted that he had verbally abused the Argos Rugby Petrarca player, but denied that the abuse was racist.

The Committee upheld the red card decision and determined that the abuse had been racist. It found that the offence was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected 12 weeks as the appropriate entry point.

There were no aggravating factors and taking into consideration Casellato’s qualified guilty plea and his good disciplinary record, the Committee reduced the sanction by four weeks before imposing a match-day stadium ban of eight weeks.

Casellato is free to resume his match-day duties on March 18th.

He wasn’t the only person to be punished from that game, the Argos Rugby Petrarca prop, Romulo Acosta, has been suspended for eight weeks.

Acosta was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Gabriele Pezzano (Italy), for allegedly spitting at the Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo wing, Massimo Cioffi, at the conclusion of the match in contravention of Law 9.27.

An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Jean-Noel Couraud, Chair, Achille Reali (Italy) and Julien Berenger (France), heard evidence and submissions by video conference from Acosta, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, from the Argos Rugby Petrarca representative, Silvia Cameran, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The Committee upheld the citing complaint in that it warranted a red card and determined that Acosta had spat at the Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo player. It found that the offence was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected eight weeks as the appropriate entry point.

One week was added due to Acosta’s poor disciplinary record, and in mitigation, the Committee then reduced the sanction by one week in recognition of the player’s coaching work with his club’s underage teams before imposing a suspension of eight weeks.

Acosta is free to play again on March 25th.

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26 weeks worth of bans handed out - ranging from spitting to alleged racist abuse