Diamond hit with 18-week ban
Sale executive director of sport Steve Diamond has received an 18-week touchline ban and was fined £4,000 by a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing.
Diamond was charged with one count of verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes and his assistants Rhys Davies and Gareth Copsey at the end of the 21-19 defeat by London Irish on January 8.
Sale were defeated at the Madejski Stadium after Barnes awarded the Exiles a late penalty for a scrum offence that was kicked by Adrian Jarvis.
The RFU charged Diamond under rule 5.12, which covers "conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Union and/or game".
Diamond pleaded guilty at the hearing in Coventry and was given the sanction which prevents him 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.
The panel said: "Referees strive to do the best they can in a highly-pressurised 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."
Diamond must pay the £4,000 fine within 14 days, while his ban expires on June 20.
Meanwhile, Leicester prop Julian White has been given a one-week ban for stamping during the Tigers' 19-11 defeat by Exeter on February 11.