Former Bath co-captains Alex Crockett and Michael Lipman have lost their appeal against their nine-month bans for missing a drugs test.
The pair were suspended after allegations that they had taken cocaine at an end-of-season party following Bath’s Guinness Premiership play-off defeat to Leicester.
And although charges of drug taking were dismissed, Crockett and Lipman were banned from the sport after being found guilty of ‘conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game.’
Crockett, a product of the Bath youth system, and Lipman, an Australian-born England international, resigned from the club prior to the initial hearing and had been hoping to have their suspensions overturned in London yesterday.
But an RFU committee rejected their appeal to have the ban thrown out or at least reduced after the players’ unsuccessfully argued that there was no lawful basis for the players to be requested to submit to extra testing, that they had reasonable grounds to not take the tests and that their refusal to submit to extra testing was not prejudicial to the game.
"Michael Lipman and Alex Crockett are disappointed, surprised and upset by the RFU appeal panel’s decision not to overturn their nine-month ban," the pair’s solicitor Richard Mallett told the London Evening Standard.
"The RFU have yet to indicate their reasons for rejecting the grounds of appeal.
"Until the RFU reveals to Mr Lipman and Mr Crockett why the appeal failed it is obviously difficult to comment further at this stage."
Crockett and Lipman will continue to be suspended until June 1 2010.