A ban from coaching for three matches, a letter of apology and a fine were among the disciplinary sanctions handed down to Geordan Murphy by the RFU on Tuesday afternoon. 


Charges against the Leicester Tigers head coach were dealt with by an independent disciplinary panel.

He was charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Union and the Game contrary to RFU Rule 5.12.

Murphy was alleged to have verbally abused a match official following the Leicester match against Bath Rugby on May 18 and faced two charges.

The first charge related to verbal abuse of a match official, contrary to Law 9.28. The second charge was for failure to respect the authority of match officials, contrary to Law 9.28.

Murphy accepted both charges and the following sanctions were imposed:

  • Prohibited from coaching duties for three weeks;
  • Games to be served are the first three meaningful games of the 2019/20 season;
  • Pay a fine of £1,500, to be applied to a charity selected by the RFU Elite Referees Department;
  • Write a personal letter of apology to Sean Davey, copied to the other match officials appointed to the game;
  • Write open letter to all Leicester players and officials apologising for his actions, and making it clear that match official abuse is entirely inconsistent with the values of the game.


The hearing was dealt with on the papers by Jeremy Summers, the sole judicial officer. Summers said: “While the disappointment of the club’s season is well known, criticising the TMO – as Mr Murphy did – was both wholly unacceptable and entirely inconsistent with the values of the game.

“Unfortunately match officials continue to be subject to improper attack, and those that find themselves before disciplinary panels in respect of such conduct should expect to be sanctioned appropriately.”

Murphy was unexpectedly thrown into the head coach role in September following the sacking of Matt O’Connor and prior to an April 6 loss to Exeter, the rookie head coach opened up about his difficult first season.


“It makes me feel horrific. It’s the toughest thing I have ever experienced in my life. It’s not pretty. For someone like myself, and the other coaches in the room, we’re dedicating our lives to it. It isn’t something we do on a Tuesday and Thursday and walk away from it.

“This is our lives so it affects our home lives, our family lives, our personal lives. We don’t sleep. We worry. It’s a sport but it means so much to all the people involved. It is tough. We have been under pressure all season. We have not performed anywhere near as well as we could.”

WATCH: The sixth and final part of The Academy, the RugbyPass documentary series on Leicester Tigers

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