Arnaud Mela, the Brive lock (No 5), appeared at an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin today (Thursday, 17 December, 2009), as a result of a citing arising from the Heineken Cup Pool 4 match against London Irish at Stadium Municipal on Saturday, 12 December, 2009.
The citing lodged by the Citing Commissioner for the match, Alberto Recaldini (Italy), was for an alleged punch / strike on replacement London Irish hooker Danie Coetzee (No 16) in contravention of Law 10.4 (a).
After considering the evidence, the independent Judicial Officer, Robert Williams (Wales), determined that Arnaud Mela was guilty of foul play in contravention of Law 10.4 (a) in that he punched / struck an opponent.
The Judicial Officer found that it was in the middle range in the level of seriousness for an offence of this type. Having taken into account any mitigating and aggravating factors, including two previous similar offences in ERC tournaments, the independent Judicial Officer suspended the player for a period of seven (7) weeks running up to and including 31 January, 2010.
Both parties have the right to appeal.
Under the IRB Recommended Sanctions for Offences Committed within the Playing Enclosure, Striking another Player with a hand, arm or fist carries the following penalties:
Lower End: 2 weeks
Middle Range: 5 weeks
Top End: 8 weeks+
Maximum Sanction: 52 weeks
For a full list of IRB Recommended Sanctions please refer to ercrugby.com by following this link:
i) Citing Commissioner
a) Citing Commissioners will be appointed by ERC for all Heineken Cup and all televised Amlin Challenge Cup matches and shall be entitled to cite a Player for any act or acts of Foul Play that in the Citing Commissioner's opinion warranted a citing.
b) For such matches Clubs will not have the power to cite a player but may refer incidents to the Citing Commissioner within 24 hours of the conclusion of the match.
c) The Citing Commissioner will have 50 hours from the start of the game to make a citing and the determination of the Citing Commissioner will be final and binding. In exceptional circumstances this deadline can be extended.
d) The Disciplinary Officer may forward the submitted Citing to a Citing Officer to determine whether there are sufficient grounds for the citing to progress.
e) The Disciplinary Officer will then bring a charge against the cited player.
(ii) Independent Disciplinary Hearing
a) Citing hearings will be heard by an independent Judicial Officer as soon as is practicable. Until the hearing a cited player is eligible to play in ERC tournaments
b) The independent Judicial Officer is chosen by the Chairman of the independent Disciplinary Panel, Professor Lorne Crerar.
c) The ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor, presents the case against the player
d) Both parties to the hearing (ERC and the player) have the right to appeal decisions of the independent Disciplinary Hearing. Appeals must be lodged within 72 hours of receiving the full written decision from the Chairman of the independent Disciplinary Committee
e) The full written decision of the independent Judicial Officer will be available on www.ercrugby.com/disciplinenews when the disciplinary process is complete
Finals Edition: Listen to the best guide to the European Rugby Cup Finals weekend in Dublin, which sees Leinster Rugby take on Stade Francais Paris at the RDS on Friday night in the Amlin Challenge Cup Final and then ASM Clermont Auvergne tackle Toulon in an all-French affair at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.