The 28-year-old was found guilty of gouging Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris during the Irish province’s 23-13 Heineken Cup victory over Stade at Ravenhill on 12 December, 2009. Attoub was found guilty of the offence on Friday, but the sentencing was delayed until yesterday. Independent judicial officer Jeff Blackett said: “This is the worst act of contact with the eyes that I have had to deal with: it is a case of deliberate eye gouging.”
The ban means Attoub will not be available to play again until 22 April, 2011. His team-mate Julien Dupuy was handed a 24-week ban, reduced to 23 on appeal, for his role in the incident. Attoub, who had served a suspension for gouging in a European match during the 2004-05 season, had pleaded not guilty to the offence although the incident was captured in an image taken by a photographer at the match. The authenticity of that image was disputed by Stade, but that claim was dismissed by the hearing.