Guinness Premiership
Venter ban upheld
May 26, 2010

Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter will be banned from the Guinness Premiership Final on Saturday after failing in his appeal to have his ban overturned.

Venter was handed a 14-week ban earlier this month for making provocative or inappropriate gestures towards spectators during Saracens' clash with Leicester on May 8 and he will not be permitted to enter Twickenham for the season finale.

The three-man appeal panel was chaired by Jim Sturman QC, Gareth Rees QC and John Brennan in London, and although the ban was upheld it was reduced to 10 weeks.

"The panel was impressed by Dr Venter's appeal for assistance with his conduct in the future and his desire to avoid future clashes with the authorities," read an RFU statement. "We considered that the appeal against conviction had no merit but have reduced the sentence to allow Dr Venter and Saracens the opportunity to put this matter behind them and start next season with a clean slate."

He will not be allowed any contact with his side when they take on Leicester, but the club have already devised a contingency plan, with first team coach Mark McCall and forwards chief Paul Gustard assuming control from the dugout.

"I have no fear if I miss the final as we have already run the club as a group of friends and coaches," Venter said ahead of Wednesday's hearing. "We're so much on each other's wavelength that it's scary sometimes. The only one who will really suffer from this situation is me, it's not the players or other coaches."

Chief Executive Edward Griffiths added, "There is no question that Brendan Venter was given a fair hearing by the panel chaired by Jim Sturman QC. However, in our view the penalty that prevents Brendan from even attending the Guinness Premiership final at Twickenham remains entirely disproportionate. All the attention and energies of the club will now be focused on maximising the performance of the team, and the enjoyment of our supporters on Saturday."


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