French club Agen have been fined €12,000 and given a suspended one-match ground closure following unsavoury incidents in last month’s Top 14 defeat to Clermont which culminated in assisting referee Thomas Charabas being struck by a coin thrown by a home supporter in the 9,896 attendance.
A disciplinary hearing reported: “After examining the match officials’ reports, the arguments presented by SU Agen Lot-et-Garonne as well as the disciplinary record of the club, the disciplinary committee have decided to pronounce a suspension of the Agen ground for a match of the championship of France, accompanied by the reprieve, as well as a fine of €12,000 for disorders.”
Agen had run the risk of a heftier €80,000 fine and the threat of playing two home matches behind closed doors as a punishment. The club have condemned the incident but they are still trying to identify the supporter who controversially struck assistant referee Charabas with the coin following their 13-28 Top 14 loss to Clermont.
The contest was a tightly fought affair until a 57th minute yellow card for Agen captain Mathieu Lamoulie allowed Clermont, who had only been winning 15-13, to pull away and secure a far more comfortable victory.
Agen president Jean-François Fontenau said in the immediate aftermath of the coin throw: “Agen condemns in the strongest terms the incident that occurred at the end of the match that saw Thomas Charabas hit by a coin thrown by a spectator.
Suite à la décision de la Commission de Discipline @LNRofficiel de ce jour.
— SUA LG (@agen_rugby) April 3, 2019
“Even if the intention of the spectator was not to hurt the referee, this gesture is in complete opposition to the values of our sport, of our club, and our supporters.
“I therefore condemn it unambiguously. This act is unacceptable from both a moral and ethical point of view. Agen will make every effort to identify and punish the person heavily, and will also further improve the security conditions.
“I would like to salute the work of our security services, which, as Mr Charabas pointed out in his recent interview, have been irreproachable in their mission to protect referees,” continued Fontenau in a statement issued on his club’s website.
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