Toulon’s Delon Armitage appeals 12-week suspension

Former England international to challenge punishment after being found guilty of misconduct earlier this month

Toulon full-back Delon Armitage has lodged an appeal against his 12-week suspension for directing abusive language at Leicester Tigers fans.

The 31-year-old was involved in an incident with the home supporters at Welford Road after Toulon’s 25-21 European Champions Cup defeat on 7 December.

There was ample corroboration of Mr. Hampson’s evidence in the player’s admission that he had sworn twice and gesticulated at the Tigers supporters and we had no hesitation in concluding that on the basis of the player’s own admission he was guilty of misconduct under the Disciplinary Regulations.

Independent Disciplinary Committee

Armitage pleaded not guilty to a complaint of allegedly bringing the sport, and those associated with it, into disrepute.

An independent disciplinary committee in London found the former England international guilty of misconduct, despite being provoked by Tigers supporters after the match.

The committee was unhappy with the evidence provided in defence by Armitage and his counsel, and the player admitted swearing at a group of Leicester supporters, including children, while on his way to the Legends Lounge in the Met RX Stand.

They also found Armitage to be a “habitual offender against the laws of the game” and his actions in this instance were “in direct contravention of three of the five values of rugby set out in the IRB Playing Charter, namely integrity, discipline and respect” as well as showing no remorse during the proceedings.

“We were not impressed by the player when he gave evidence and was questioned,” the committee said in the published record of its decision.

“He presented himself as the victim and sought to justify what he had done and said.

“Wherever there were inconsistencies between his account and that of [witness] Mr. Hampson, we had no hesitation in preferring the evidence of Mr. Hampson.

“He had no reason to make his complaint and attend before the committee if his evidence were untrue.

“He had done so because he concluded the incident was so serious that it could not go unreported.

“There was ample corroboration of Mr. Hampson’s evidence in the player’s admission that he had sworn twice and gesticulated at the Tigers supporters and we had no hesitation in concluding that on the basis of the player’s own admission he was guilty of misconduct under the Disciplinary Regulations.”

Before handing out the suspension, the committee heard of Armitage’s “appalling disciplinary record, both on and off the field”, which included an eight-week suspension in January 2011 after allegations of misconduct in pushing and using threatening and/or abusive and obscene language towards an anti-doping official following a Premiership match.

Armitage also appealed that decision, but it was dismissed.

His current suspension means he would miss Toulon’s final two European Champions Cup pool matches against Ulster and the Scarlets in January, and will be free to play from Monday 9 March 2015.

The appeal will be heard in London on Thursday 8 January 2015 by an independent appeal committee consisting of chairman Lorne Crerar (Scotland), Rod McKenzie (Scotland) and Simon Thomas (Wales).

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