RFU charges 13 Barbarians players for breach of coronavirus protocols

The Rugby Football Union have officially charged 13 unnamed Barbarians players for breaching coronavirus protocols and providing false statements during an investigation, they anounced on Thursday. The news follows the cancellation of last weekend’s game against England.

An RFU statement read: “The RFU is bringing charges against 13 Barbarian FC players who will appear before an online Independent Disciplinary Panel chaired by Philip Evans QC charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Union or the Game, contrary to RFU Rule 5.12.

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“The players will face a range of charges including:

– Individual breaches of the protocols (e.g. leaving the hotel without permission or without informing organisers of their whereabouts)

– Providing false statements during an investigation

“The RFU recognises the pressure public scrutiny is placing on the players and therefore it will publish players’ names, full judgements and sanctions after the hearings have concluded.

“There is no sanction table applicable to charges brought under Rule 5.12 therefore the Independent Panel can issue a range of sanctions at their discretion including fines and/or match bans and/or any other suitable sanction.”

A number of players have already apologised for their role in this debacle, including former England captain Chris Robshaw and stars Richard Wigglesworth and Jackson Wray. Saracens winger Sean Maitland was dropped from the Scotland squad because of his involvement, with national coach Gregor Townsend saying: “Sean’s actions last week with the Barbarians mean that he won’t be able to rejoin our group now and we will review the situation in the coming weeks.”

Before this statement from England Rugby, Police had already said that they would not investigate the Barbarians players for breaking Covid-19 rules.

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