ERC Statement

Ospreys and Lee Byrne Misconduct Complaints Hearing Decision

An independent Disciplinary Committee sat in Dublin today, Friday, 29 January, 2010, to hear Misconduct complaints under the Heineken Cup 2009/10 Disciplinary Rules brought against Ospreys and Ospreys full-back, Lee Byrne (No 15).

 The Misconduct complaints, brought by Heineken Cup tournament organiser, ERC, were that Mr Byrne, who had been replaced as a blood substitute in the 67th minute of the Heineken Cup round 6 match v Leicester Tigers at Liberty Stadium on Saturday, 23 January 2010, had then re-entered the pitch without replacing another player and/or without the referee signalling that he may do so.

The independent Disciplinary Committee was chaired by Pat Barriscale (Ireland) and also comprised Mark McParland (Ireland) and Jean-Noel Couraud (France).

Ospreys and Mr Byrne pleaded guilty to the misconduct complaints. During the hearing, the independent Disciplinary Committee heard submissions from representatives of ERC and Ospreys and from a number of witnesses, and considered statements from various individuals and video evidence from the match. The committee also heard submissions from representatives of Leicester Tigers.

The independent Disciplinary Committee found that Mr Byrne had re-entered the pitch without the referee's permission and that he knew or ought to have known that he needed that permission. The committee found that this represented a clear breach of the Substitution Protocol, which forms part of the Heineken Cup 2009/10 Tournament Rules, and that the club could have done more to ensure that such a breach did not occur. However, the committee found that the breach had not been deliberate or premeditated on the part of the club's management and that there had been no material effect on the match.

In the circumstances, the committee imposed a fine of 25,000 euros on the Ospreys and suspended Mr Byrne from playing rugby for a period of two (2) weeks, up to and including Friday, 12 February, 2010. Mr Byrne will be free to play on Saturday, 13 February 2010.

Lee Byrne, the Ospreys and ERC have the right to appeal.