Italy flanker Mauro Bergamasco was banned for 13 weeks after a disciplinary panel in London on Wednesday found him guilty of gouging the eye of Wales fullback Lee Byrne during the Azzurri's 47-8 Six Nations defeat in Cardiff last weekend.
The ban, which applies across all levels means Bergamasco, who plays his club rugby for French champions Stade Francais, could now miss the rest of the season as he won't be able to resume playing until June.
But Italy lock Carlo del Fava was cleared later on Wednesday after being cited during the same match.
Bergamasco has the right of appeal against a ban which rules him out of Italy's Six Nations matches away to France on March 9 and at home to Scotland on March 15.
"Following a citing by the independent citing commissioner, Mauro Bergamasco, the Italy loose forward, has been suspended from playing for 13 weeks, from March 3, 2008, having been found to have deliberately placed his finger in the right eye of Lee Byrne, the Wales fullback, in the Six Nations match on Saturday," a statement issued on Wednesday said.
This season's French Championship semi-finals have been delayed until June 21 because of the World Cup, with the final a week later.
But whether Stade, should they qualify, will want to field a player who has been out for three months, if Bergamasco's ban remains at its present length, is uncertain.
Stade's flamboyant owner Max Guazzini was distraught about the ban and said the club was suffering for something that they had nothing to do with.
"It is very bad news," Guazzini said. "Bergamasco was playing for Italy. But it is the club who continues to pay during the suspension for an offense he did not commit while he was playing for them."
"Quite apart from the responsibility of the player, of which I will not pass comment, it is Stade Francais who have been penalized. It is a form of double penalty," Guazzini said.
The 28-year-old Bergamasco and Del Fava were both left out of the Italy squad announced by coach Nick Mallett on Tuesday for the match against France.
APPROPRIATE RESPONSE: The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan expressed ‘sincere regret’ for publishing the image on its in-house magazine and Web site A satirical mock-up depicting the Tokyo Games logo as the novel coronavirus has been pulled from online after Olympic organizers branded it “insensitive” and said that it infringed copyright. The design combines the distinctive, spiky image of the coronavirus cell with the blue-and-white Tokyo Games logo. It appeared on the cover of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s magazine. The Tokyo Games have been postponed until next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left hundreds of thousands of people dead and halted sport worldwide. Club president Khaldon Azhari yesterday said that the club had decided to withdraw the image and remove
Uncertainty grips next year’s postponed Tokyo Olympic Games: Will there be fans or empty stadiums in 14 months? How will thousands of athletes, staff members and technical officials travel, be housed and stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic? And the Tokyo Games are not the only event. China, where COVID-19 was first detected, is to hold three mega-sports events in the year after the Tokyo Olympics are set to close. The World University Games in Chengdu, China, are to open, with up to 8,000 athletes, only 10 days after the Tokyo Games close. Next come the Beijing Winter Olympics beginning on Feb. 4, 2022,
The COVID-19 pandemic has stalled young Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas’ burgeoning career, but he remains philosophical about the tennis shutdown. The world No. 6 would have been preparing for the French Open that was originally scheduled to start this weekend, but was postponed to September. While he is missing life on the ATP Tour, Tsitsipas believes that the lockdown has given the planet a breather. “I actually think they should put us in lockdown once a year — it’s good for nature, it’s good for our planet,” Tsitsipas said in an Instagram Live conversation for At Home With Babsi on Eurosport’s Instagram page. “I
When South Korea’s domestic women’s golf tour held its premier event last week — without spectators because of the COVID-19 pandemic — no fewer than three of the world’s top 10 players took part. The country of 52 million people has a disproportionate share of the women’s world golf rankings, providing eight of the current top 20. In a demonstration of their prominence, South Korean women have won at least one major every season since 2010, with coronavirus cancellations perhaps the biggest threat to their run this year. The phenomenon, players and commentators have said, results from driven parents, intense training, a highly