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Page last updated at 21:22 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Referee David Rose to blame for Sale-Wasps judgment

Referee David Rose
Referee David Rose inspects the Edgeley Park pitch

Referee David Rose has been blamed for failing to apply the right rules prior to the controversial postponement of a league game between Sale and Wasps.

The match was called off after Wasps insisted the pitch was dangerous, despite Sale's claims to the contrary.

Wasps were charged with breaching rules but cleared after it emerged they "did not actually refuse" to play the game.

Now it appears Rose applied the wrong regulations and could have insisted the match at Edgeley Park take place.

The Premiership match was postponed 10 minutes before its scheduled kick-off time, with some 8,000 fans inside the ground.

The decision angered Sale, who felt the pitch was playable despite claims from Wasps that surface water down one channel made it dangerous.

Wasps were subsequently charged with breaching regulations, but a Premier Rugby disciplinary panel dismissed the charges, insisting they had not been proven.

Stand Up And Be County'd

Now a written judgment has revealed the full reasons for Monday's verdict.

It says Rose applied an International Rugby Board law which states a team must tell the referee about any objections to the ground before the match, and that the referee should not start a match if any part of the ground is considered dangerous.

However, the official should have applied a Premier Rugby regulation which states that no club should fail to fulfil a fixture "without just cause" and that the referee has the final say as to whether a game goes ahead.

According to the judgment, Premier Rugby says that Rose "did not state to Wasps that he was the only person entitled to decide whether or not the pitch was fit to play and did not state sufficiently clearly to Wasps his decision that the fixture should be played given that, in his view, the pitch was fit for play.

"Had the referee's decision about the fitness of the pitch and/or its communication to Wasps been clearer, Wasps would have been in breach of the regulations as alleged, if they had then refused to play the fixture."

The judgment added that Rose was not solely to blame, adding that he had been let down by the Rugby Football Union.

"The referee could have been given clearer guidance about the relevant regulations and their application by officials from the RFU and the referee could have been given more explicit training and guidance in advance of the fixture," it read.

"We hope that obvious lessons will now be learned from this incident and that no similar incident will be allowed to recur."

Sale chief executive James Jennings was reluctant to comment on the Premier League judgment until he had been given more time to digest its contents.

"The club will make a full statement tomorrow once it has had time to analyse and consider the reason given by the panel," he said.

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see also
Wasps cleared over abandoned game
07 Dec 09 |  English
Worsley faces eight-week absence
26 Nov 09 |  English
Rugby union commentaries
09 Sep 10 |  Rugby Union
Saracens 22-6 Wasps
22 Nov 09 |  English
Leeds 17-24 Sale
22 Nov 09 |  English

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