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Last Updated: Monday, 25 April, 2005, 20:29 GMT 21:29 UK
Johnson wins yellow card appeal
Leicester captain Martin Johnson shows his anger during an incident against Northampton
Martin Johnson has won his appeal against a yellow card which could have brought an early end to his career.

The Leicester captain, who is retiring at the end of the season, appealed against a caution for fighting during his side's league defeat by Saracens.

England's World Cup captain is now free to play in Leicester's final league clash against Wasps on Saturday.

Had his appeal failed, Johnson would have missed the game with Wasps and next month's title play-offs.

"I am very pleased with the result, and I am looking forward to the rest of the season," said Johnson.

We are not satisfied that the contact amounted to foul play justifying a yellow card
RFU disciplinary chairman Rick Charles

Rick Charles, chairman of the Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel, said: "We understood the referee's conclusion that a yellow card was appropriate.

"However, having studied the video evidence, we were not convinced that there was a fight.

"We concluded that Johnson was illegally removed from the maul in a manner that was dangerous and left him on his back in an exposed position.

"We have also studied the video of his immediate reaction, and we are satisfied that there was contact as he turned towards Ben Russell.

"But we are not satisfied to the required standard that the contact amounted to foul play justifying a yellow card."

A ban would have meant a disappointing end to Johnson's illustrious career following his team's Heineken Cup semi-final exit at the hands of Toulouse.

Report: BBC Radio Five Live's Alistair Hignell

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24 Apr 05 |  European Club
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