Sale Sharks director Steve Diamond banned for 18 weeks

Diamond hit with 18-week ban
Sale Sharks executive director Steve Diamond is fined £4,000 and will serve an 18-week touchline ban after pleading guilty to verbally abusing match officials.

Sale Sharks executive director Steve Diamond has been served an 18-week touchline ban as well as a £4,000 fine for abusing match officials last month.

The Rugby Football Union charged the former fly-half with one count of verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes along with his match assistants Gareth Copsey and Rhys Davies following a 21-19 defeat to London Irish on January 8.

The panel at yesterday's hearing said: "Referees strive to do the best they can in a highly-pressurised environment.Wayne Barnes is acknowledged as one of the best referees in the game.

"Referees are entitled to respect at all times, whether the final whistle has been blown or not."

Diamond pleaded guilty to the charges and has 14 days to pay the fine.

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