Guinness Premiership
RFU extends Bath investigation
June 10, 2009

The RFU has chosen to extend the investigation in to allegations against former Bath players Michael Lipman, Alex Crockett and Andrew Higgins by a week.

The trio terminated their contracts at Bath immediately before they were due to appear at a club disciplinary hearing, accused of refusing to take a drugs test on three different occasions following Bath's end-of-season party, prompting an investigation from English rugby's top brass.

The players left the club determined to clear their names, but will now have to wait a further week to learn the outcome of the investigation.

"The Rugby Football Union is determined that the investigation into the allegations surrounding three former Bath Rugby players - Michael Lipman, Alex Crockett, and Andrew Higgins - is both exhaustive and thorough and has therefore decided to extend the enquiry period by one more week," read an RFU statement. "To date the investigation team has reviewed all of the Bath documentation and spent time meeting some witnesses from the club management and playing staff.

"However, the close season and holidays has meant logistical challenges over the availability of some key witnesses and it has not proved possible to complete some interviews needed to gather all the evidence required to make a decision. Those final interviews are now scheduled for this week, following which the RFU will decide whether there is a case for the players to answer under Rule 5.12 for any conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game."

RFU Disciplinary Manager Bruce Reece-Russel, who is leading the investigation team, said: "The RFU is committed to gaining a full and fair understanding of the alleged events so that we can decide if there is a case to answer and it is therefore important we take the time required to do this properly. That means meeting face to face with players, club management and other third parties to get their recorded statements. This is a complex and delicate investigation and whilst we are mindful of the importance of a speedy resolution, we are also conscious of the need to be thorough."


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