Gloucester hooker Olivier Azam will not be able to play in the first four rounds of the Heineken Cup after failing in his bid to get his 12 week suspension reduced by an RFU appeals panel.
The French international was banned for three months for kicking England captain Steve borthwick in the face during a Guinness Prmiership match against Saracens. That ban meant he missed last weekend's round 1 clash at Kingsholm against the Dragons.
Now his failure to get his supsension reduced means he won't be able to play again until 29 December, ruling him out of European action until round 5 of the Pool matches.
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.