Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill has been suspended for nine matches by a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel after he was found guilty of using words that were “obscene, inappropriate and unprofessional” during the Aviva Premiership final.
The charge related to the events in the match between Leicester and Northampton on 25 May when the Tigers coach reacted to Courtney Lawes' tackle of Toby Flood and left his seat to discuss the incident with fourth official, Stuart Terheege, on the touchline.
Cockerill pleaded not guilty to the charge but the RFU panel decided he had acted in an “inappropriate and unprofessional” manner and banned him until 2 November, although he does have the right to appeal.
A statement on the Aviva Premiership official website said: “[Richard] Cockerill pleaded not guilty to conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Union and/or the Game contrary to RFU Rule 5.12 by using obscene, and/or inappropriate and/or unprofessional language/behaviour in an exchange with fourth official Stuart Terheege during the Aviva Premiership Rugby final against Northampton Saints at Twickenham Stadium on 25 May.
”But the RFU panel found that Cockerill used words that were obscene, inappropriate and unprofessional and behaviour that was inappropriate and unprofessional.
“Cockerill will be suspended from involvement in match day coaching activities, before during and after matches, from 7 September to 2 November 2013. He will be free to resume matchday coaching activities on 3 November.”
Cockerill was also ordered to pay £500 costs.
The ban means that the rookie coaching duo of Paul Burke and former Leicester captain Geordan Murphy will take the reins for the start of the 2013-14 season.
Northampton and England hooker Dylan Hartley was also sent off during the Aviva Premiership final and subsequently ruled out of the British and Irish Lions tour to Hong Kong and Australia for calling the referee a “cheat”.
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