The Board of ERC, tournament organisers of the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup, met in Dublin today (Wednesday, 2 September, 2009) and considered a comprehensive agenda ahead of the kick-off of the 2009/10 European season in October.
The ERC Board acknowledged the important role played by the ERC Disciplinary process in protecting the integrity of the ERC tournaments and of the wider game.
The Board believes that the robust nature of the independent Disciplinary system utilised for ERC tournaments has provided a fair and professional disciplinary process for all parties involved, as well as the tournaments' stakeholders.
The Board acknowledged and fully accepted the decisions and sanctions of the independent Appeal Committee (17 August, Glasgow), which found the Club (Harlequins), Tom Williams, Dean Richards (Director of Rugby) and Steph Brennan (Physiotherapist) all guilty of Misconduct under the Heineken Cup 2009/10 Disciplinary Rules.
As a consequence of the decisions reached by the independent Appeal Committee and the significant sanction imposed on the Club, the Board saw no reason to interfere with the participation of Harlequins in the 2009/10 Heineken Cup.
However, the Board went on to express its concern with many of the issues and practices raised as part of the investigation and in the hearings and their implications for the wider game.
And in order to allow time for further consideration of the lengthy decisions published this morning, and the related issues and implications, the Board will reconvene on Tuesday next, 8 September.
The Board has therefore reserved the right to direct the ERC Disciplinary Officer to investigate issues raised during the process, which were not covered or dealt within the disciplinary hearings to-date, with a view to considering any further Misconduct complaints.