Heineken Cup
Attoub appeals 70-week ban
January 19, 2010

Stade Francais prop David Attoub has appealed against his 70-week ban for gouging Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris.

Attoub was banned from the game until 2011 by an ERC panel following his side's defeat to Ulster at Ravenhill on December 12, with his team-mate Julien Dupuy also picking up a 23-week ban for gouging. ERC disciplinary officer Judge Jeff Blackett described Attoub's actions as, "the worst act of contact with the eyes that I have had to deal with: it is a case of deliberate eye gouging." The player has challenged both the finding of foul play and level of sanction imposed.

Dupuy also launched an appeal against his sanction following a furious response from his club and his ban was reduced by a week due to a technical oversight. Stade coach Jacques Delmas reacted in a similar manner to the Attoub judgement, accusing ERC of anti-French bias and declaring, "It is still the hundred years war with ERC."

Blackett accused Attoub of "evading responsibility" for his actions in his judgement, believing his account of the incident to be "less than truthful".

"His account skated over the period when his hand was clearly near and on Ferris' face and he declined to explain precisely what he was doing other than trying to move away from where he was," Blackett said in his original decision.

"When he was shown the incriminating photographs and asked to explain what he saw or what was happening he replied that he did not know. He refused to accept the possibility that his finger was in the eye. It was this evasiveness which satisfied me that his account was less than truthful and that he knew that he had deliberately attacked the eyes of an opponent but was trying to evade responsibility."

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