- Sale Sharks boss banned for 18 weeks
- Diamond pleaded guilty to verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes
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Sale Sharks Chief Executive Steve Diamond has been given an 18-week ban from entering the playing enclosure, technical area, approaching Match Officials and communicating or attempting to communicate directly with Match Officials before, during and after the game on the day of the match.
Diamond was charged by the Rugby Football Union with one count of verbally abusing a match official under RFU Rule 5.12 which covers “conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Union and/or the Game”, Mr. Diamond pleaded guilty. Additionally Mr. Diamond will pay a £4,000 fine within 14 days. The ban expires on June 20.
The panel said: "Referees strive to do the best they can in a highly pressurized environment. Wayne Barnes is acknowledged as one of the best referees in the game. Referees are entitled to respect at all times, whether the final whistle has been blown or not."
The incident took place at the end of the Aviva Premiership match between London Irish and Sale Sharks on January 8.
The panel was chaired by His Honour Judge Sean Enright and the two panel members were John Brennan and Geoff Payne.
The hearing took place at the Coventry Holiday Inn.