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Breaking news: Farrell receives ban following second hearing

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Tuesday Aug 22, 2023

Judgment day has fallen upon both Owen Farrell today as he was handed out a ban for his red card following the during Wales game a couple of weeks ago.

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Owen Farrell found himself waiting on the results of a disciplinary hearing for the second time in just over a week after he was originally cleared by a Six Nations-appointed independent panel just last Monday. Their ruling was shortly subject to an appeal process by World Rugby amid growing demands by fans, pundits, and players alike that the punishment was not fit for purpose.

Thanks to World Rugby’s appeal, Farrell has now been hit with a much harsher punishment in the form of 4 matches, which will take into effect last week’s match against Ireland which he missed. This will leave the England captain out of the squad and in the cold for the first two games of the World Cup group stage.

Farrell’s ban had been reduced from the mandatory 6-match mid-range entry point due to the panel taking into account the “player’s acceptance of foul play, clear demonstration of remorse and his good character”

A statement from England Rugby reads:

Following an initial Disciplinary Committee hearing for Owen Farrell, who received a red card during the Summer Nations Series match between England and Wales on Saturday 12th August, World Rugby lodged a formal appeal against the Committees’ decision to downgrade the red card to a yellow, appealing for the red card to be upheld.  

“The Appeal Committee met on Tuesday 22nd August and unanimously determined that in the original hearing the Disciplinary Committee should have considered the attempt of the player to wrap his opponent in the tackle. This point did not feature in the original decision.

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“The failure to attempt to wrap was judged to be an important element of the Foul Play Review Officer’s (FPRO) report and had led to an upgrading of the referee’s yellow card to a red card during the match.

“As this element did not feature in the original decision, the Appeal Committee decided it was in the interests of justice to hear the case afresh on that key point alone, which included hearing from the player.

“Following the review by the Appeal Committee of this key element, it was determined that the FPRO was correct in his decision leading to the red card. The Appeal Committee subsequently determined that the tackle was ‘always illegal’.

“When applying the terms of World Rugby’s Head Contact Process, no mitigation can be applied to a tackle that is ‘always illegal’.

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“The Appeal Committee therefore considered that the Disciplinary Committee’s decision to downgrade the red card to a yellow card had been manifestly wrong, which led to the Disciplinary Committee’s decision being overturned, the appeal brought by World Rugby being allowed, and the red card upheld.

“In considering sanction, the Committee applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point for foul play resulting in contact with the head (six-matches). Taking all considerations into account, including the player’s acceptance of foul play, clear demonstration of remorse and his good character, the Committee agreed a four-match suspension.

“The Appeal Committee accepted submissions on behalf of the player that the Ireland v England match on 19 August 2023, for which the player was voluntarily stood down would be included as part of the sanction.”

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