A lengthy nine-week ban has been handed down to Newcastle player Mateo Carreras following his citing for intentional contact with the eye of Wasps’ Josh Bassett during last Friday night’s Gallagher Premiership match at Kingston Park. 

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Replays during the game suggested there was contact made with Bassett’s eye but play resumed without punishment being administered. However, the Argentine has now faced retrospective action and he was summoned to appear at a virtual disciplinary hearing on Wednesday night. The outcome has been severe. 

It was independent citing commissioner Chris Sharp who cited recent Newcastle signing Carreras following the match and he accepted the charge of intentional contact with the eye(s) and was given a nine-week suspension by the independent disciplinary panel comprising Charles Cuthbert (chair) with Daniel White and Leon Lloyd. He will be free to play on June 15 subject to Newcastle’s progression in the European Challenge Cup.

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The independent disciplinary panel said: “The player accepted that he had committed an act of foul play in that he intentionally made contact with the eye of an opponent. His evidence was that he had intended to ‘irritate’ the Wasps player but that he had not intended to cause any harm in his action. 

“He accepted on reflection that by making contact with the eye of Josh Bassett he risked causing serious injury though this was a momentary action without thought for the consequences. Thankfully, there was no injury caused other than temporary discomfort.

“The panel considered that the action warranted a mid-range starting point due to the fact Josh Bassett was vulnerable at the time of the incident, there had been fleeting pressure to the eye and it was a grave, intentional act. The entry point for mid-range is 18 weeks.

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“The player had admitted the offence which the panel accepted took some courage given the stigma attached to offences of this nature. He has a clean disciplinary record over a number of years as a professional player, expressed remorse for his actions and engaged with the process positively despite requiring the assistance of a translator. In line with the regulatory framework, the panel applied 50% mitigation.

“The panel note that this incident has been referred to as an eye ‘gouge’ and would direct attention to the formal wording of the law which is ‘Intentional contact with the eye(s)’. The phrase ‘gouge’ does not appear in the charge.”

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