Toulon’s Delon Armitage given 12-week ban for comments to Welford Road crowd

Team mate Martin Castrogiovanni ordered to pay €10,000 to charity for Leicester comments

Toulon back Delon Armitage has been suspended for 12 weeks after a misconduct complaint was lodged against him following his side’s 25-21 European Champions Cup defeat against Leicester Tigers.

Armitage was alleged to have made abusive comments towards the Welford Road crowd both during and after the match, and while an EPCR panel felt there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest Armitage was guilty during the game they have taken him to task for his post-match comments.

An EPCR statement said: “After considering evidence and hearing submissions on behalf of Armitage, who pleaded not guilty, and on behalf of the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, the independent Disciplinary Committee was not satisfied that a comment allegedly made by Armitage during the match had been made as the inconsistencies in the evidence were too great.

“However, the Committee was satisfied that Armitage had directed abusive language at Leicester Tigers supporters after the match, and while it found that his comments were provoked, the Committee decided he was guilty of misconduct.


“The Committee determined that the sanction entry point should be eight weeks, and as this was Armitage’s second post-match misconduct case in the last four years, and as there were no mitigating factors, it decided to add four weeks to the ban before imposing a suspension of 12 weeks. Armitage was also ordered to pay costs.”

Armitage’s suspension will run from December 17 through to March 8 2015, meaning he will be free to play from March 9.

Meanwhile Armitage's Toulon team mate Martin Castrogiovanni has been ordered to pay €10,000 to charity and given a suspended four-match ban after comments he made following the same fixture.

The former Italian international launched a verbal attack on Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill about his departure from the English side and move to the French powerhouse.

Castogiovanni was subsequently charged with misconduct by competition organisers EPCR following the incident at Welford Road on December 7th.

An EPCR statement outlined the full charge: "The misconduct complaint against Castrogiovanni was that after the match he made a number of comments to the media in which he attacked, disparaged, criticised, damaged and/or brought into disrepute Leicester Tigers, the club's Director of Rugby, Richard Cockerill, EPCR, the European Rugby Champions Cup and the sport of rugby union in contravention of the Disciplinary Rules of the European Rugby Champions Cup Participation Agreement 2014/15.

“After considering evidence and hearing submissions on behalf of Castrogiovanni, who pleaded guilty, and on behalf of the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, the independent Disciplinary Committee found that Castrogiovanni was guilty of misconduct and that the comments made were utterly indefensible.

"The Committee Chairman, Antony Davies, accepted that Castrogiovanni's comments regarding Leicester Tigers being "amateur" were made in an ironic and questioning manner, and therefore did not constitute criticism. He also acknowledged the player's genuine remorse.

“Castrogiovanni was ordered to pay €10,000 to a charity in the city of Leicester and was banned for four matches with the ban suspended until 30 April 2016. The ban will be activated in the event of any off-field misconduct complaint being successfully brought against him. He was also ordered to pay costs.”

The fate of Harlequins lock Charlie Matthews, who has been cited after being sin binned for grabbing Dominic Ryan’s face during Leinster’s 14-13 Champions Cup victory last Saturday, will be announced tomorrow.