Saracens can confirm that they are disappointed with today’s decision from the independent Appeal Committee’s not to allow Chris Ashton’s appeal to overturn his 10-week suspension for making contact with eyes of Ulster player Luke Marshall.
At last month's Disciplinary Hearing, the independent Judicial Officer, Jean-Noel Couraud (France), found that Ashton had committed an act of foul play that warranted a red card in that the player had made contact with the eye(s) and/or eye area of the Ulster Rugby centre, Luke Marshall, during the match at Allianz Park in contravention of Law 10.4 (m).
Ashton appealed on the basis that the sanction of 10 weeks imposed was unfair and disproportionate to the act that had taken place. The Appeal Committee heard the player's appeal in London yesterday before adjourning to give the matter further consideration.
Ashton's suspension therefore remains in place and he is free to play again on Monday 28 March 2016.
Speaking after today’s decision, Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said: “The club has been fully supportive of Chris throughout this process and wanted to ensure that everything possible was done to support his case.
“Saracens and Chris are obviously disappointed by the ramifications of today’s news, but we now have to accept this decision. We are thankful to the Appeal Committee for considering Chris’s case and for the opportunity to put his case forward. Chris now plans to work hard during this enforced time away from playing to ensure that after his suspension he can perform well for Saracens, and help the club to a successful season.”
Chris Ashton: “I’m incredibly disappointed with today’s decision, but I now plan to look ahead to the rest of the season and work as hard as I can during my ban. I’d like to thank Saracens and my legal team for all their hard work and support throughout this. I vehemently maintain that I have never made an attempt to intentionally make contact with the eye area of any other player. To miss out on the chance to represent my country and Saracens during this period is extremely disappointing, but the judgement stands and it is one that I will respect and accept.”