Betsen cleared to play against England

10th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

GLASGOW, Feb 9 (AFP) - France received a huge boost ahead of Sunday's Six Nations clash with world champions England here Wednesday when star flanker Serge Betsen went unpunished by a disciplinary committee.

GLASGOW, Feb 9 (AFP) - France received a huge boost ahead of Sunday's Six Nations clash with world champions England here Wednesday when star flanker Serge Betsen went unpunished by a disciplinary committee.

This decision was reached despite being found guilty of deliberately tripping Wasps' Stuart Abbott during a European Cup tie last month.

The 30-year-old 44-times capped Biarritz player was cleared by a three-man panel following an incident which left England centre Abbott with a broken right leg, an injury that is set to keep him out of action for the rest of the season.

Betsen, had Wasps' complaint been upheld, could have faced a suspension which ruled him out of Sunday's match and other Six Nations games.

After the hearing, which Betsen attended in person, a European Rugby Cup statement said that while his trip during the January 15 game at the Parc des Sports Aguilera, which Biarritz won 18-15 to end Wasps' European reign, was "intentional" it was not "premeditated" and would not have led to him being sent-off had it been seen by officials.

The statement explained: "The disciplinary committee found that the player (Betsen) did commit an illegal act of foul play, namely a deliberate trip of the Wasps centre Stuart Abbott.

"However, it was also found that the trip, while intentional, was not premeditated and had been carried out 'in the heat of the moment'.

"The panel decided the incident would not have warranted Betsen being ordered off the field of play if detected by the referee.

"As a result, the citing complaint was not upheld and no suspension or other sanction was imposed on the player."

Betsen's case was heard by a panel chaired by Rod McKenzie (Scottish Rugby Union), Professor Lorne Crerar (also SRU) and Dr Barry O'Driscoll (Irish Rugby Football Union).

However, their verdict may not be the end of the matter with the statement adding that "both parties have the right of appeal".

© AFP

Subject: French News

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