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Laporte banned for 13 weeks

Toulon coach Bernard Laporte has been banned from involvement with the team on matchdays for 13 weeks after an outburst against a match referee last month.

Laporte labelled referee Laurent Cardona "incompetent" and "always hopeless" in a radio interview several days after his side's defeat to Grenoble in the Top 14 on January 4. Grenoble won 22-21 with a late interception try.

The former France coach appeared before the Ligue Nationale de Rugby's disciplinary commission last Wednesday and Toulon have now published the commission's verdict on their website.

It read: "The disciplinary and rules commission (was) engaged by the presidents of the FFR (French Rugby Federation) and the LNR following the public declarations of Mr Bernard Laporte relating to the referee of the match between RC Toulonnais and FC Grenoble on January 4, 2014 in the 16th round of the Top 14.

"(The commission) decided to issue Mr Bernard Laporte a suspension from the pitch, the dressing rooms (of the teams and the match officials) and the corridors accessing these areas during official matches (including before and after the games) for 13 consecutive weeks, up to and including May 13, 2014.

"The disciplinary and rules commission also imposed a fine of 10,000 euros (£8,200) on RC Toulonnais."

Laporte stormed out of the stadium at the end of the game in question and club president Mourad Boudjellal even feared the coach would resign.

Those worries proved unfounded but Laporte told Radio Monte Carlo on January 9: "On the game's last move, there was a strategic error, a referee error, it was not because of a foul by us.

"I cannot support (Cardona) refereeing us any more, he robs us every time. It was not that that decision was hopeless, he was hopeless all game. He is always hopeless .

"I cannot put up any more with this kind of incompetent (referee) coming and controlling my emotions."

He repeated the "incompetent" claim several days later after the Heineken Cup win over Cardiff, adding: "Cardona tries to make friends with me but he can stick his text messages up his a***."

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