Leicester critical of RFU over handling of Richard Cockerill case

The Tigers' director of rugby was banned for nine matches

Leicester have strongly criticised the Rugby Football Union over its handling of the Richard Cockerill case.

Cockerill, the Tigers' director of rugby, was banned for nine matches for his conduct towards fourth official Stuart Terheege during Leicester's Aviva Premiership final victory over Northampton.

Leicester will wait to receive a copy of the full written judgement before deciding whether to appeal the verdict but they are angry with the RFU's role in the case.

A club statement said: "Following the verdict of the Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing, Leicester Tigers are extremely disappointed that Richard Cockerill has been found guilty of any offence relating to the Aviva Premiership Final on May 25.

"The club will, therefore, await the full written judgement so it can determine whether to appeal the disciplinary panel's decision or not.

"Leicester Tigers are, however, disappointed with the Rugby Football Union's conduct in this matter.

"There are elements of the way in which they have conducted this case which, in our opinion, calls into question the new disciplinary structure and we will be taking this up with the RFU at the earliest opportunity.

"The club will not make any further comment about this until there has been an opportunity to discuss it with the Union and it is appropriate that this is dealt with privately.

"Richard Cockerill has been a central part of Leicester Tigers' continued success over many years and the Club will fully support him and the rest of the coaching team for the 2013/14 season."

Cockerill left his seat in the stands to remonstrate with the fourth official after a tackle from Courtney Lawes on Leicester fly-half Toby Flood.

Lawes was penalised for the tackle but Cockerill wanted the incident to be referred to the television match official and felt the Northampton lock deserved a yellow card, at least.

Cockerill pleaded not guilty to a misconduct charge but he was found guilty at Monday's hearing of "using words that were obscene, inappropriate and unprofessional, and behaviour that was inappropriate and unprofessional".

Cockerill was suspended from involvement in any match-day coaching activities from September 7 to November 2.

The RFU was advised in last year's Slaughter and May governance report to introduce a fully independent disciplinary process.

As a result, James Dingemans QC has been appointed as the RFU's first independent head of rugby judiciary, although he does not start in his post until August 1.

PA

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