Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Williams reveals 'Bloodgate' pressure

Tom Williams has spoken of the extent of the pressure he felt under from Harlequins not to make a full disclosure on the events behind the 'Bloodgate' scandal.

Quins wing Williams told an independent appeals committee last week the club had offered him a new four-year contract plus other benefits and claimed in his written testimony that Quins chief executive Mark Evans and chairman Charles Jillings had asked him to consider a limited appeal solely against the length of his ban.

Williams was initially handed a 12-month ban — reduced to four months after appeal — for chewing a fake blood capsule during the April 12 game against Leinster in the Heineken Cup.

Williams said: “He started by apologising to me for the position I had been placed in. I am sure he was sincere.

“Charles then laid out a compensation offer to me. This consisted of payment of my salary while I was suspended, an assurance that I would be selected for the team on merit once my suspension ended, a two-year contract extension, a testimonial, a three-year employment opportunity with the club after I retired from playing, and an assurance that he would take a direct interest in my post-rugby career.

“Charles told me that he thought I should appeal, but that it should be on a limited basis focusing on the sanction and not the findings of fact.

“Charles said that if the ERC decided to convene a personal hearing and questions were asked of me that might incriminate other parties, I could simply refuse to answer those questions.”

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