French player gets 14-week ban for spitting in Stringer's face
STADE Francais player Jerome Fillol has received a 14-week ban for spitting in Bath scrum-half Peter Stringer's face.
The first-half incident happened during last Saturday's Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final between the clubs and resulted in Stade number nine Fillol being cited.
Fillol admitted a charge of committing an act contrary to good sportsmanship when he appeared at an independent disciplinary hearing in Dublin today.
Fillol's suspension will take into account the closed season, covering a 10-week period from April 6 until June 16 and then another four weeks between July 15 and August 11.
Independent judicial officer, England's Anthony Davis, found Fillol had been guilty of "an intentional, deliberate and grave act".
Davis decided the offence warranted a top-end entry point in terms of punishment and considered 26 weeks as his punishment base before applying 12 weeks' mitigation.
"The judicial officer identified no aggravating factors," European Rugby Cup said in a statement.
"And after taking into account compelling mitigating factors, which included the genuine remorse expressed by the player at the hearing, as well as his exemplary record and strong character references, the judicial officer applied mitigation of 12 weeks, before imposing a sanction of 14 weeks.
"The independent judicial officer heard evidence and submissions from Fillol, who pleaded guilty, from the Stade Francais Paris secretaire general, Cedric Boudarel, and from the club's legal counsel.
"The judicial officer also heard submissions from ERC disciplinary officer, Roger O'Connor, and considered written evidence from Peter Stringer.
"The Judicial officer found that Fillol had spat in the face of Stringer and that it had been an intentional, deliberate and grave act.
"He determined that the act warranted a top-end entry point from the IRB's sanctions for spitting, and considered that 26 weeks, from the available range of 11 to 52 weeks, was the appropriate entry point."
Fillol was reported by match citing commissioner Eugene Ryan. The incident was not witnessed by match referee Nigel Owens, but it was captured by television cameras.
Stade went on to win the Recreation Ground tie 36-20, and they will now play French rivals Perpignan at the tournament's semi-final stage later this month.
It is understood that Fillol subsequently sent a letter to the Bath club and Stringer, apologising for his actions.
A citing complaint against Fillol's Stade team-mate Rabah Slimani was upheld after he tackled Bath wing Nick Abendanon in the air.
But Davis decided that Slimani, who was sin-binned following the incident, did not warrant any period of suspension and he is free to continue playing.
However, Perpignan's former Wasps forward Daniel Leo collected a one-week ban after he was sent off for striking Toulouse player Christopher Tolofua with his arm during Perpignan's Amlin quarter-final success last Friday.