Martin Castrogiovanni punished for Leicester rant

Martin Castrogiovanni sought out English journalists to make his attack on Leicester. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Martin Castrogiovanni sought out English journalists to make his attack on Leicester. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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Toulon’s former Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni has been handed a suspended four-match ban for his expletive-filled rant at the Tigers and their rugby director Richard Cockerill

The Italian international made the comments after Toulon’s 25-21 European Champions Cup defeat by the Tigers earlier this month. He has now admitted a misconduct complaint, European Professional Club Rugby announced.

Castrogiovanni was also ordered to pay €10,000 to charity in Leicester following his appearance before an independent disciplinary committee in London yesterday.

His ban is suspended until 30 April 2016, and will be activated “in the event of any off-field misconduct complaint being successfully brought against him”, EPCR said.

The charge was lodged against 33-year-old Castrogiovanni, who has won 107 Test caps, following a bizarre post-match episode at Welford Road on 7 December. He sought out English journalists in the Leicester press room and then launched an expletive-laden outburst at Cockerill and Tigers over his perception of the way he left the Aviva Premiership club in 2013.

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His six-minute tirade included nine mentions of the f-word and two of the c-word. In a statement, EPCR said: “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.”

Castrogiovanni, who did not play in last weekend’s return Champions Cup fixture between Toulon and Leicester, was accompanied at the hearing by his legal representative Julian Pike, Toulon team manager Tom Whitford and the player’s agent Matthew Ginvert.

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