Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Maidstone deducted 50 points

Rugby union
Rugby union

Maidstone Rugby Club have been deducted 50 points and fined £2000 following an incident which left an opposing player blind in one eye.

The Rugby Football Union took action against the club after failing to identify the player responsible for injuring Gravesend's Clarence Harding in a match on January 17, 2010.

The RFU's chief disciplinary officer Judge Jeff Blackett cleared Maidstone player Matt Iles of eye-gouging at a previous hearing - but he also determined Harding had been injured in a deliberate act.

Maidstone were charged with "being responsible for the actions of unidentified players, one of whom made deliberate contact with the eye of Clarence Harding".

An RFU disciplinary panel found the club guilty of conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game.

"Players who commit serious acts of misconduct on the field of play must realise that such acts can have serious repercussions for a club as a whole," said panel chairman Gareth Rees QC.

"In these changing times clubs must accept a greater responsibility for the conduct of its members, including on the field of play. The panel acknowledge that Maidstone gave great assistance to both the police and the RFU during their investigations into this matter."

The police decided there was insufficient evidence of a criminal act to refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The club have the right to appeal against the RFU's decision.

Maidstone's 1st XV are currently sixth in London 2 South East with 28 points.

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