Ticket punishment piles on problems for Bath

Things go from bad to worse at the Recreation Ground, home of the Premiership's bottom team Bath. Smarting from four-try defeats at the hands of Northampton and Newcastle, they were dealt another double whammy yesterday when Steve Borthwick, their outstanding lock forward and a wildcard tip for the England captaincy, was cited for his part in an all-in brawl last weekend, and the club was stripped of a proportion of its international ticket allocation following a Rugby Football Union investigation into black market transactions.

The RFU, determined to drive unlicensed hospitality providers into the nearby Thames, took action against 15 clubs and St George's School in Harpenden after finding match tickets in the wrong hands. Of the clubs - from Amber Valley in Derbyshire to Woodford in Essex - only Bath play in the élite league.

By way of further embarrassment, it is less than six months since two of their Test contingent, Olly Barkley and Matt Stevens, found themselves in trouble with the union after the discovery of similar ticketing irregularities. The RFU stressed last night that the two incidents were unrelated.

Bath immediately issued a "statement of clarification", in which they denied any deliberate flouting of the rules. "We sold the tickets in good faith, and at face value," said a spokesman. "It appears the initial purchaser could not attend the game and sold them, again at face value, to a third party. We believe it was from this source that the tickets ended up where they did. This case is an illustration that we must all take even greater care to ensure that there is no chance of any of our tickets ending up in the wrong hands again."

Union attempts to exert greater control over the destination of Twickenham tickets, which are allocated to clubs rather than sold to the general public, have gathered pace over the last year with the licensing of three hospitality companies. Some unlicensed businesses accused the RFU of operating a cartel; others contrived to lay hands on tickets despite the restrictions. This latest incident underlines the difficulty of keeping checks on tickets for a stadium that could be sold to capacity three times over for major matches.

Borthwick, meanwhile, must attend a disciplinary hearing in Coventry next Tuesday after being identified as a possible miscreant by one of the RFU's citing officers. Phil Dowson, the Newcastle No 8, who was sent off for his role in the shenanigans, has now been suspended for a week by his club, despite their claims that he was a victim of mistaken identity.

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?