Aviva Premiership
Diamond handed suspended ban
ESPNscrum Staff
October 12, 2011
Sale Sharks' director of sport Steve Diamond poses with the Premiership trophy, Aviva Premiership season launch, Twickenham, England, August 24, 2011
Diamond will have to toe the disciplinary tightrope if he is to avoid a substantial ban © Getty Images

Sale Sharks boss Steve Diamond has been given a 12-week suspended ban for pushing Northampton head of fitness Nick Johnston during their September 23 clash.

Diamond appeared before a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel in Brighouse on Tuesday evening on two charges of misconduct arising from his side's 29-21 win over the Saints at Edgeley Park. He pleaded guilty to pushing Johnston during a touchline incident and to making inappropriate comments in a TV interview after that game.

The panel imposed a 12-week suspension from the field of play and technical area and from communicating directly with match officials during the game but suspended the ban until May 31, 2013. Diamond was also fined a total of £5,000, £1,000 payable immediately with the remainder also suspended until May 31, 2013.

Both suspensions are on condition that there is no repetition of misconduct and, in addition, Diamond was told to receive a course of media training before the end of the season. Sale have already carried out an internal investigation into the incident, which occurred on the touchline during the first half of the game, and say they imposed an unspecified sanction on Diamond.

Sale trailed 18-9 shortly after half-time in the match but came back to win, with Northampton at one stage reduced to 13 men after captain Phil Dowson and flanker Calum Clark were sent to the sin-bin.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have lost an appeal against a four-week suspension handed to James Hudson for a dangerous tackle in a game at London Irish on September 24. Hudson is suspended until November 1.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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