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Joe Marler banned for two games and told to donate £20k to charity

World Rugby handed down their punishment after a hearing in London earlier.

Marler is free to resume playing on 18 April.
Marler is free to resume playing on 18 April.
Image: David Davies

ENGLAND PROP JOE Marler has been given a two-game ban and fined £20,000 by World Rugby for verbally abusing Welsh counterpart Samson Lee.

An independent judicial committee upheld the misconduct charge against Marler at a hearing in London today.

The Harlequins forward last night apologised for calling Lee ‘a gypsy boy’ during England’s Six Nations win over Wales at Twickenham last month.

He initially escaped any disciplinary action from Six Nation chiefs but World Rugby stepped in and have this evening confirmed his punishment.

A World Rugby statement said:

“A misconduct charge was brought by World Rugby against Marler in relation to a breach of Regulation 20 and the code of conduct, for comments made towards Samson Lee during the England versus Wales RBS 6 Nations match at Twickenham on 12 March.

“Regulation 20 and the code of conduct both cover statements that are unsporting and/or insulting and/or discriminatory by reason of race or ethnic origin, which bring or have the potential to bring the game into disrepute.

“The charge was admitted in its entirety by Marler and upheld by the independent judicial panel comprising Terry Willis (chair, Australia), Jean-Noël Couraud (France) and Alan Hudson (Canada).

“Following a full review of all the evidence, including a detailed analysis of the broadcast feed, referee microphone, statements and submissions on behalf of Marler by his representative Mark Milliken-Smith QC, and World Rugby, the committee found:

  1. That Marler had used unsporting and discriminatory language towards Lee.
  2. That by his actions, Marler had breached World Rugby Regulation 20 and the code of conduct and brought the game into disrepute.
  3. That Marler was proactive in apologising to Lee at half-time during the match and that he subsequently issued a public and unreserved apology for his comments.
  4. That Marler is a person of good character and had no similar misconduct charges.”

The statement added Marler, who has the right of appeal, would be free to resume playing on 18 April and would have to pay the £20,000 fine to a suitable equality charity in the United Kingdom.

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