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Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Joe Marler fined £20,000 and banned for two matches for Gypsy comment

The Joe Marler 'Gypsygate' saga has finally come to an end, with World Rugby flexing their muscles to impose a whopping £20,000 fine and two match suspension on the England prop, who infamously insulted Samson Lee in the Six Nations last month.

An independent judicial committee upheld a misconduct charge againt Marler at a hearing in London yesterday, finding that his comments towards Lee were in breach of World Rugby's Regulation 20 and the code of conduct.

'Regulation 20 and the code of conduct both cover statements that are unsporting and/or insulting and/or discriminatory by reason of race or ethnic origin, which bring or have the potential to bring the game into disrepute.'

Marler admitted his guilt, not for the first time, and following a full review of all evidence, including a detailed analysis of the broadcast feed, referee microphone, statements etc, the committee found that he had brought the game into disrepute and used unsporting and discriminatory language towards Lee [scroll down for video].

They also found that Marler was proactive in apologising to Lee at half time during the match, and had issued public apologies. They added that he is a person of good character and had no similar misconduct charges.

However the committee determined that the breach was serious and imposed a two-match suspension, and ordered Marler to pay a fine (in the form of a donation) of £20,000 to a suitable equality charity in the UK.

All of this came about after Six Nations Rugby completed a full investigation and taking all elements into account, found that there was no need for disciplinary action. Both Samson Lee and Warren Gatland also played down the incident, with both casually referring to it as 'banter'. 

World Rugby felt that Six Nations Rugby should have taken appropriate action by setting up an independent judicial committee process, in accordance with the regulations.

After seeing the result The Traveller Movement, a charity working with communities to challenge discrimination and promote inclusion, tweeted: "Great result from #worldrugby, racism against #Gypsies can not be tolerated!"

A day before the hearing took place, Marler tweeted the following, again displaying his remorse and reiterating that what he said (calling Lee 'Gypsy Boy') was not meant in a racist way.

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