Armitage lands 12-week ban

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Published: Wednesday 17th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Toulon full-back Delon Armitage has been suspended for 12 weeks following a misconduct complaint lodged against him after his club’s match against Leicester, European Professional Club Rugby has announced.

Armitage was alleged to have used offensive language towards spectators at Welford Road and pleaded not guilty to the charge, h owever, the independent disciplinary committee was satisfied that the 31-year-old had directed abusive language to home fans after the match.

An EPCR statement read: ” Delon Armitage, the RC Toulon player, has been suspended for 12 weeks as a result of a misconduct complaint lodged against him by EPCR following his club’s European Rugby Champions, Round 3 match against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on 7 December 2014.

The statement continued: “The misconduct complaint against Armitage was that during and after the match he was alleged to have conducted himself in an unsportsmanlike manner by making a number of comments to, or within earshot of, spectators using foul and abusive language and may have brought into disrepute the sport of rugby union, the European Rugby Champions Cup, other clubs and persons and/or EPCR in contravention of the Disciplinary Rules of the European Rugby Champions Cup Participation Agreement 2014/15.

“After considering evidence and hearing submissions on behalf of Armitage, who pleaded not guilty, and on behalf of the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, the independent Disciplinary Committee was not satisfied that a comment allegedly made by Armitage during the match had been made as the inconsistencies in the evidence were too great.

“However, the Committee was satisfied that Armitage had directed abusive language at Leicester Tigers supporters after the match, and while it found that his comments were provoked, the Committee decided he was guilty of misconduct.”

This was Armitage’s second post-match misconduct case in the last four years, meaning an extra four weeks were added to the eight match ban sanctioned by the committee.

The Toulon player will be suspended until March 8 next year, subject to appeals.

Earlier, Toulon’s former Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni received a suspended four-match ban after he admitted a misconduct complaint.

Castrogiovanni was also ordered to pay 10,000 euros (£7,900) to charity in Leicester following his post-match comments aimed at the Aviva Premiership club and their rugby director Richard Cockerill after Toulon’s 25-21 European Champions Cup defeat against the Tigers earlier this month.

The Italy international appeared before an independent disciplinary committee in London on Thursday. His suspension is suspended until April 30 2016, and will be activated “in the event of any off-field misconduct complaint being successfully brought against him”, EPCR said.

A misconduct complaint charge was lodged against 33-year-old Castrogiovanni, who has won 107 Test caps, following a bizarre post-match episode at Welford Road on December 7.

He sought out English journalists in the Leicester press room and then launched an expletive-laden outburst at Cockerill and Tigers over his perception of the way he left the English club in 2013.

His six-minute tirade, witnessed by Press Association Sport, included nine mentions of the f-word and two of the c-word.

In a statement, EPCR said: “The misconduct complaint against Castrogiovanni was that after the match he made a number of comments to the media in which he attacked, disparaged, criticised, damaged and/or brought into disrepute Leicester Tigers, the club’s director of rugby, Richard Cockerill, EPCR, the European Rugby Champions Cup and the sport of rugby union in contravention of the disciplinary rules of the European Rugby Champions Cup Participation Agreement 2014/15.

“After considering evidence and hearing submissions on behalf of Castrogiovanni, who pleaded guilty, and on behalf of the EPCR disciplinary officer, the independent disciplinary committee found that Castrogiovanni was guilty of misconduct and that the comments made were utterly indefensible.

“The committee chairman, Antony Davies, accepted that Castrogiovanni’s comments regarding Leicester Tigers being “amateur” were made in an ironic and questioning manner, and therefore did not constitute criticism.

“He also acknowledged the player’s genuine remorse.

“Castrogiovanni was ordered to pay 10,000 euros to a charity in the city of Leicester and was banned for four matches with the ban suspended until 30 April 2016.

“The ban will be activated in the event of any off-field misconduct complaint being successfully brought against him. He was also ordered to pay costs.”

Castrogiovanni, who did not play in last weekend’s return Champions Cup fixture between Toulon and Leicester, was accompanied at the hearing by his legal representative Julian Pike, Toulon team manager Tom Whitford and the player’s agent Matthew Ginvert.

Published: Wednesday 17th December 2014 by The News Editor

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