General Rugby

Rugby could face big legal battles




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Stiffer penalties for violent conduct could consign rugby union to a battleground for the legal profession. That’s the view of Damian Hopley, chief executive of the Professional Rugby Players’ Association.

The International Rugby Board (IRB) has decided punishments are to be more than doubled, which means that from next week a punch could be greeted with a 12-month ban.

The stiffer punishments came into effect for the international and European games on 1 January this year, but apply to English rugby from 1 September which is the start of their season.

“We are very supportive of the fact there is no room for violent behaviour on the field but I’m not convinced as to how these new regulations will be enforced,” Hopley told BBC Sport.

“I’m sure that lawyers up and down the country will be very excited to see such swingeing disciplinary sanctions introduced.”

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