Sale Sharks have launched a staunch defence of Denny Solomona after the full release of an RFU disciplinary judgement.
Solomona was banned for four weeks over an alleged homophobic slur during a Premiership match between Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors.
The England winger has always denied making a homophobic remark to Jamie Shillcock and in a statement Sale backed their player.
“The club believes Denny, he is a decent and honest person and maintains that no homophobic words were exchanged during the Aviva Premiership match against Worcester Warriors on March 24th.”
“The RFU disciplinary panel decided, on the balance of probability but with absolutely no other evidence, that Denny had said those words based on Jamie Shillcock’s reaction only. They also did not believe that Mr Shillcock had sought out Denny after the game and apologised to him.”
“After serious consideration, Sale Sharks have come to the conclusion that there are significant risks as well as legal and financial hurdles in pursuing an appeal.”
As a consequence, Sale Sharks do not believe that it is in the interests of either Denny, the club or the game of rugby union to prolong this sad affair.”
The full report states revealed that no one else had heard the altercation between Solomona and Shillcock, while no microphones picked up the conversation either.
Despite this, he was charged him “with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union or the game, contrary to RFU Rule 5.12.”
Solomona contested the charge but was found guilty by the three-person independent panel.
An initial six week ban was reduced to a four week suspension for “mitigating features”.
It rules the winger out until May 8th, which effectively ends Solomona’s domestic season, unless Sale secure a top four spot and a place in the Aviva Premiership playoffs. The Sharks are currently sixth, three points behind fourth-placed Wasps.
Panel chair Samantha Hillas said: “The panel found that the player used language that was verbally abusive on more than one occasion in quick succession.
“The comments were offensive and have no place on the rugby field. However, the Panel accepted that they were said in the heat of the moment rather than premeditated.
“For these reasons, the panel deemed it was a low end entry point which carries a six week suspension as a starting point. The player did not accept the charge but all other mitigating features were present. The panel therefore reduced the sanction to four weeks.”
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