From Paul Morgan, editor of Rugby World Magazine
I normally applaud the RFU when it comes to their disciplinary system as it is quick to meet out justice and does so fairly. But Olivier Azam has been banned, according to the RFU website for “nine weeks after being found guilty of making contact with the eyes or eye area of Cardiff Blues’ Jamie Roberts during the EDF Energy Cup Final at Twickenham on April 18.”
Nine weeks is their decision and that is fine, but the farce comes in because those nine weeks are covered by the off season so he can play again on 17 September, so will miss a couple of games. Whether he did it or not is irrelevant to my complaint – it is the system that needs changing!
Why on earth the RFU are so stubborn on this one is beyond me. All bans should be games, so a player should be banned for six, seven, eight or nine games as they are in football.
Surely when you have a ban that covers the summer when very little rugby is played it is in fact a complete waste of time. In Azam’s case his season has finished at Gloucester, so wherever he plays next season he will miss very little rugby. Whether he is guilty or not is not for me to say, but I would regard the outdate disciplinary system that still bans players for weeks and not games to be guilty as charged.