Australian Rugby
Cooper hit with fine and suspension
ESPN Staff
October 31, 2012
Australia's Quade Cooper issues some instruction, New Zealand v Australia, Rugby Championship, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, August 25, 2012
Australia's Quade Cooper is set for a spell on the sidelines © Getty Images

Australia's Quade Cooper has been hit with a hefty fine and a possible three-match suspension for his recent public criticism of the Wallabies' set-up.

A three-man independent tribunal found Cooper to be in breach of the Australian Rugby Union Code of Conduct in respect of his social media and media comments last month that included a claim that the environment surrounding the national side was "toxic" and a suggestion he would no longer play even if selected due to his belief that the team was ''destroying him as a person and as a player''.

Cooper was fined A$10,000 for an adverse comment on the micro-blogging site Twitter regarding a computer game that is licensed by the ARU and fined a further A$50,000 for later comments, with A$20,000 suspended for a period of two years, subject to ongoing compliance with the ARU Code of Conduct.

The 24-year-old, who will miss the Wallabes' end of year tour of Europe with a knee injury, was also handed a three match suspension applicable to any Super Rugby or Test Match in which he would be available. The three match suspension will only be enforced should Cooper fail to adhere to the ARU Code of Conduct over the following two years.

In making their decision the panel took into consideration the period of time over which the offences were committed and Cooper's previous record. Following the decision, Cooper said, he was pleased the matter had been resolved.

"I had a fair hearing and I acknowledge that I fell below the standards expected of me as a Wallaby," Cooper said. "I want to focus on the future and moving forward I am determined to restore the faith people have placed in me.

"My passion for representing my country is very strong and I am focussed on having a strong year next year and putting my hand up for selection in the Wallabies squad."

ARU Deputy CEO, Matt Carroll, said the ARU noted the tribunal's findings and would now consider the next step in the contracting process with Cooper.

"ARU placed contract negotiations with Quade Cooper on hold until the Tribunal process had been finalised," Carroll said. "Given the Tribunal has handed down its decision, this matter as far as we are concerned has been finalised. ARU will now look at how we address the contract situation involving Quade Cooper."

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