O’Connell’s suspension remains

2009 Lions captain Paul O'Connell has had his appeal against a four-week ban turned down by an ERC Independent Appeal Committee. [more]

Paul O'Connell

2009 Lions captain Paul O’Connell has had his appeal against a four-week ban turned down by an ERC Independent Appeal Committee.

The Munster skipper was handed the ban after being found guilty of striking Ospreys no.8 Jonathan Thomas in the Heineken Cup clash two weeks ago.

But at an appeal hearing last night the decision from the original hearing was upheld and the suspension remains in place with O’Connell ruled out until January 10.

“At the independent Disciplinary Hearing on 16 December, 2010, the independent Judicial Officer, HHJ Jeff Blackett (England), upheld the red card and determined that the act had been deliberate but that there had been no intention to injure,” read a statement released by the ERC.

“The independent Appeal Committee, chaired by Professor Lorne Crerar (Scotland) and also comprising Rod McKenzie (Scotland) and Simon Thomas (Wales) heard submissions from Mr O’Connell, his solicitor, Donal Spring, and from ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O’Connor.

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“The Committee found that Mr O’Connell had not demonstrated that the original decision had been in error or that it should be overturned or varied, and therefore dismissed the appeal.

“Mr O’Connell will be free to play from 10 January, 2011, as per the original decision.”
O’Connell was red-carded just 10 minutes into his European comeback following a long-term groin injury.

He will miss Munster’s next three Magners League games, but will be available for the twice-European champions’ final two Heineken Cup pool games away to Toulon and at home against London Irish.

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