Amlin Challenge Cup
Falcons hit with euro ban
April 14, 2011
Tempers flare between Newcastle's clash with Bourgoin at Kingston Park last October © Getty Images
Newcastle have been handed a one-year ban from European competition, suspended for five years, and fined 25,000 Euros (£22,190) after pleading guilty to a charge of misconduct at a European Rugby Cup disciplinary hearing in Dublin.
The punishment relates to the Falcons' Amlin Challenge Cup Pool 3 clash against Bourgoin, which was scheduled to be held on Saturday, January 22. The match was postponed due to an unplayable pitch at Stade Pierre Rajon and rescheduled for the following day, but the Falcons chose to return to the UK before a pitch inspection at midday. The fixture was never played, with neither side able to reach for the quarter-finals it had no impact on which sides progressed from the pool.
The Aviva Premiership club, who currently sit bottom of the table, pleaded guilty to a charge that they had "refused and/or failed to participate in the match on its rescheduled date, January 23, or at all," and were expelled from this season's Amlin Challenge Cup and handed the suspended one-year ban from European rugby, which will be activated should they commit a similar offence during the next five years.
The match was also awarded to Bourgoin, with the French club being handed a bonus-point 28-0 victory. An ERC statement read, "The independent disciplinary committee, chaired by Roger Morris (Wales) and also comprising Robert Williams (Wales) and Mark McParland (Ireland), determined that Newcastle Falcons be expelled from this season's Amlin Challenge Cup tournament and be banned for one year from ERC competitions, the ban suspended for five years and activated if they commit an act of misconduct of a similar nature. The club was also fined ?25,000 with costs awarded to ERC."
Bourgoin, however, were also handed a one-year ban suspended for five years after they pleaded guilty to a charge that the club did not do its best to ensure that the match was not postponed due to adverse weather conditions, and did not have an alternative venue where the game could have been played. The Top 14 side were also fined 75,000 Euros.
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