Planet Rugby

Tigers chief slams ban process

29th May 2014 09:26

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leicester v bath owen williams

Banned: Owen Williams

Leicester Tigers chief executive Simon Cohen has blasted the "flawed" disciplinary system that dealt Owen Williams a six week ban.

The Welsh fly-half was punished for "contact with the eyes" of Northampton Saints rival Luther Burrell during this month's Premiership semi-final at Franklin's Gardens, meaning he will miss out on his country's June Tests in South Africa, and a handful of domestic pre-season fixtures.

Williams will, however, be cleared to play from September 2, meaning he will be back in action ahead of the Tigers' start to the competitive league matches.

"It is really unfortunate for Owen and, to my mind, shows up a flaw in the International Rugby Board's tariff system," Cohen told the Leicester Mercury.

"There can be no intent but there is still a 12-week low-end sanction for something deemed reckless.

"The consequence of that is very few players can afford to plead not guilty because they run the risk of losing significant mitigation.

"In Owen's case, if he had pleaded not guilty because he believed himself to be not guilty of any deliberate act, but was still found guilty, the likelihood is he would not have received any mitigation. As a result, he would have missed the start of the season.

"The system is flawed because it offers players in those circumstances such a poor choice."

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