7 Jun, 15:39
ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
The red card was issued in the 47th minute of the second half by referee Alain Rolland (Ireland) for a dangerous tackle on London Wasps wing, Tom Varndell (No 14), in contravention of Law 10.4 (j). The misconduct complaint was made against the player for an offensive hand gesture in the direction of spectators as he was leaving the playing area.
Mr Fritz, who was accompanied at the hearing by René Bouscatel, the Toulouse President, Guy Noves, the Toulouse Director of Rugby, and John O'Donnell SC, contested the red card, but accepted that he had committed the act of misconduct. The ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor, presented the case against the player.
After hearing submissions from both parties and considering all the evidence, the independent Judicial Officer, Robert Williams (Wales), upheld the red card. Mr Williams determined that the tackle had been reckless rather than intentional and he noted that Mr Varndell had suffered no injury.
Mr Williams found that the offence was in the lower end of the level of seriousness for one of this type. Having taken into account all aggravating factors, including the need to deter other players from tackles of this nature, and all mitigating factors, including Mr Fritz's good conduct at the hearing, he imposed a suspension of three (3) weeks. Mr Fritz will be free to play on Monday, 14 February 2011.
The independent Judicial Officer also upheld the misconduct complaint against the player, who apologised for the offensive hand gesture, and fined him €15,000 plus costs.
Law 10.4 (j) A player must not lift a player from the ground and drop or drive that player into the ground whilst that player's feet are still off the ground such that the player's head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground.
Under the IRB Recommended Sanctions for Offences Committed within the Playing Enclosure, Law 10.4 (j) carries the following penalties:
Lower End: 3 weeks
Mid Range: 6 weeks
Top End: 10 to 52 weeks
For a full list of IRB Recommended Sanctions please refer to ercrugby.com by following this link:
(i) Red Cards
a) The case of any player sent off in the Heineken Cup or Amlin Challenge Cup game shall be adjudicated by an independent Judicial Officer as soon as is practicable.
b) Until the hearing the player is ineligible to play in any tournament.
(ii) Independent Disciplinary Hearing
a) The independent Judicial Officer is chosen by the Chairman of the independent Disciplinary Panel, Professor Lorne Crerar.
b) 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 of the independent Judicial Officer.
c) The full written decision of the independent Judicial Officer will be available on www.ercrugby.com/disciplinenews when the disciplinary process is complete.