Delon Armitage of London Irish was tonight suspended for eight weeks for conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game.
This means that yet another England elite squad member has been ruled out of most of the RBS Six Nations, and this sort of behaviour must threaten his position in Martin Johnson’s World Cup plans.
Armitage was found guilty of pushing and using threatening and/or abusive and obscene language towards a Doping Control Officer from UK Anti-Doping during a routine test immediately after the Aviva Premiership game against Bath Rugby at the Madejski Stadium on January 1, 2011.
The Disciplinary Panel of RFU Disciplinary Officer Judge Jeff Blackett (chair), Peter Budge and Robert Horner suspended him until March 16. He can play again on March 17.
Armitage pleaded not guilty to pushing the official and guilty to using threatening and/or abusive and obscene language.
Judge Blackett said: “His behaviour was completely unacceptable. It brought discredit on himself and his club and failed to uphold one of the core values of the game – respect.
“Doping control officers should expect to carry out their important work without fear of abuse and be treated with respect at all times.
“We took into account that it was not a violent push but more of a brush past and that was accepted by the doping control officer.
“We took the offences as a whole and, in line with the sanctions for abuse of match officials, we decided that a low end entry point of 12 weeks was appropriate. This was reduced to 8 weeks on account of his remorse, his letter of apology to the doping control officer and his relatively good record.”
Armitage was ordered to pay £500 costs.