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Richards seeks clarification

Dean Richards should receive clarification on the detail of his three-year suspension from rugby within the next month.

Richards, the former Harlequins director of rugby, was banned for masterminding the Bloodgate scandal that saw him take part in the faking of a blood substitution during a Heineken Cup match. He has served one year of the punishment issued by ERC, whose verdict was also adopted by the International Rugby Board.

However, the technicalities of the sanction remain vague, with Richards uncertain if he is able to fulfil tasks such as after dinner speaking or acting in a consultancy role for clubs. Jeff Blackett, the Rugby Football Union's chief disciplinary officer, revealed on Thursday that discussions with Richards to end any ambiguity over the terms of the ban are already under way.

"Dean has asked for clarification from the IRB on the sanction," said Blackett. "Dean has had a response from the IRB, which gives them an umbrella and I've agreed to have a look at that umbrella and tell him exactly what he can and can't do.

"In my view the sanction was expressed equivocally because it talked about no rugby activity in ERC competition and it asked unions to also enforce the ban in their competitions.

"Dean and I are in dialogue at the moment and will come to a conclusion, hopefully in the next month or so. It's important to create a definitive list and that will be based on a legal analysis of the judgement.

"For instance, can Dean go to a rugby club and be paid as an after dinner speaker? Dean is very keen to know what he can and can't do. He does not want to contravene any directives."

Richards was involved with Worcester on a consultancy basis towards the end of last season. But Blackett confirmed the Sixways club, who were relegated from the Aviva Premiership, will not be censured for use of his services.

"Cecil Duckworth (Worcester's owner) spoke to me on the phone and asked me what he could and couldn't do in relation to the judgement," he said. "I said that if he did what he did, I would not take disciplinary action.

"I wouldn't be looking backwards, but I don't want to say at this stage what Dean will or won't be able to do."

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