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Page last updated at 17:21 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 18:21 UK

'Bloodgate' furore over for Quins

Tom Williams leaves the pitch in the Heienken Cup quarter-final against Leinster
Williams used a blood capsule to fake a blood injury against Leinster

The Rugby Football Union will not take any further action against Harlequins over the damaging 'Bloodgate' scandal.

Heineken Cup organisers European Rugby Cup (ERC) told Quins earlier this week that it considered the matter closed.

And now RFU disciplinary officer Jeff Blackett says: "This saga has lasted too long and a line needs to be drawn."

Quins were fined £259,000 while boss Dean Richards, winger Tom Williams and physio Steph Brennan were banned for their part in the fake injury scandal.

Harlequins chairman Charles Jillings resigned in the wake of the ERC's verdict but Mark Evans remains as chief executive and appears to have survived the scandal.


The whole saga started after Williams left the field with what turned out to be fake blood pouring from his mouth during a Heineken Cup match against Leinster on 12 April.

Williams was given an initial 12-month ban that has now been reduced to four months. It was during his appeal that the full story of the cover-up emerged.

Richards was found to be a central figure in the scandal and has been banned from coaching worldwide for three years, while Brennan received a two-year ban.

The RFU took over the case after the ERC handed out its own sanctions. Blackett said he had considered whether any matters arose beyond those which the ERC has already ruled on.

He considered whether any senior Quins officials other than those already sanctioned knew fake blood had been used in the match, had attempted to interfere with or deceive the ERC disciplinary process, had pressurised Williams into lying, or undertaken any other conduct damaging to the interests of the RFU.

"There is insufficient evidence to support a case of misconduct by the club or any of its senior officials which has not already been considered by the ERC," concluded Blackett.

"There will be some in the game who will consider that further action should be taken against Harlequins and senior officials and that my decision has undermined the integrity of the sport. I disagree.

I am relieved that this ordeal is over, and I can now concentrate all my efforts on making a successful return to playing

Tom Williams

"I have no doubt that everyone involved now understands the importance of telling the truth at the earliest possible opportunity and that in itself will send a powerful message to the rest of the game.

"As far as the RFU is concerned the matter is now closed."

Williams, who is currently serving his ban from the sport, said he was looking forward to putting the scandal behind him.

"I am relieved that this ordeal is over, and I can now concentrate all my efforts on making a successful return to playing later this year," he said.

Professional Rugby Players' Association chief executive Damian Hopley added: "Throughout this lengthy process the PRA has never deviated from advising Tom to tell the truth, despite the enormous emotional stress he was under.

"Despite this pressure Tom has shown tremendous courage and determination in attempting to undo the serious error of judgement he made, albeit under instruction from his employer."

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see also
Harlequins avoid fresh ERC action
08 Sep 09 |  Rugby Union
'Head-butt' compounds Quins woes
05 Sep 09 |  Harlequins
Wasps 26-15 Harlequins
05 Sep 09 |  Rugby Union
Best support for Richards return
03 Sep 09 |  Rugby Union
Clubs introduce blood injury code
03 Sep 09 |  English
Harlequins avoid ban from Europe
02 Sep 09 |  Harlequins
Richards hit by damning judgement
02 Sep 09 |  Harlequins
Harlequins chairman stands down
28 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Cheating not widespread - Worsley
31 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Quins could face further sanction
27 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Richards banned for three years
17 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Quins sorry for fake injury saga
12 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Richards resigns Harlequins post
08 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Quins stunned by fake injury fine
20 Jul 09 |  Harlequins
Harlequins 5-6 Leinster
12 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union

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