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Former England and Lions rugby player Dean Richards banned for three years for role in fake blood injury - 20.08.09

At the beginning of the week, Dean Richards, was banned from coaching for three years after being found guilty of serial cheating. The former director of rugby at Harlequins had resigned earlier this month after he took responsibility for a fake blood injury staged during the Heineken Cup quarter-final last season. Richards was originally cleared of the charge by a disciplinary panel that investigated the blood injury which happened six minutes from the end of the Harlequins versus Leinster game. The faked blood injury incident allowed the return of Nick Evans the Quins' goal-kicker to the field.

After examining evidence associated to this case, the European Rugby Cup Ltd, appealed this decision. On Sunday, after hearing of Richards' involvement in four similar rugby match scenarios, the ERC handed out the longest ban in the history of the game. Steph Brennan, the club's former physiotherapist was also banned for two years for his part in the scandal.

Andy Harvey, chair of HIVsport commented, "HIVsport welcomes the firm action taken by the national and global world rugby union authorities against former Harlequins coach, Dean Richards, and Steph Brennan for their part in the fake blood case. However, HIVsport is surprised to learn that such incidents are regarded as commonplace in the game. Leaving aside the issue of fair play, HIVsport maintains that bleeding injuries are a serious matter as there is the chance of transmission of diseases such as hepatitis. Faking bleeding injuries to take an unfair advantage undermines essential health and safety regulations designed to protect players and other sports participants."

Details of the other four fabricated blood injuries have been passed on to the organisers of those tournaments, which will allow for Rugby Football Union investigation if any were Premiership matches.

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