Inverdale stamping not deliberate

11 week ban for 'reckless' rugby player

The Disciplinary Panel of the RFU has rejected allegations that John Inverdale, the TV commentator, was deliberately stamped on in a veterans match between Staines and Esher, whilst finding the player concerned guilty of recklessness.


In the incident, on 10 December 2005, Mr Inverdale sustained serious injuries whilst playing for Esher. There was extensive media coverage at the time, in which the perpetrator was dubbed a ‘rugby thug’.  The case advanced by Mr Inverdale’s club before the RFU Panel was that there had been a deliberate attempt to injure. The maximum penalty was 1 year’s suspension.


However, the Panel found that the evidence made it impossible to be sure the injury was deliberate. On the other hand, said the Panel, the impact could not properly be described as accidental. The alleged assailant, stand-off for Staines Veterans, had been reckless. The case was assessed as one of mid-range gravity and the player was suspended for 11 weeks.


The Panel consisted of Robert Horner (Chairman), Christopher Quinlan and Jeff Probyn. Its decision was arrived at after a hearing lasting nearly 5 hours, and ending at 11.15pm on 5 January 2006. Evidence was heard from the accused player and Mr Inverdale together with other players and one of the spectators.


5RB’s Mark Warby QC, instructed by Charles Russell, represented the Defendant.