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Saracens' Brendan Venter hit with misconduct fine

Brendan Venter
Venter received a 10-week ban from the RFU last season

Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter has been fined £21,850, £13,100 of which is suspended until June 2012, after being found guilty of misconduct.

Venter appeared before a European Rugby Cup disciplinary hearing on Thursday for comments he made after his side's 25-23 Heineken Cup defeat by Leinster.

He said the ERC had not prepared its referees well enough to deal with new interpretations of the breakdown area.

The independent disciplinary committee said he was "inappropriately critical".

At the hearing in Dublin, Venter was told his comments were against the 2010-11 Heineken Cup Participation Agreement.

After watching his side lose their Pool Two encounter against the Irish side at Wembley on 16 October, he told the press: "Before the Heineken Cup began, I asked if we would have a conference so all the officials from abroad were in tune as to the new interpretations of the laws.

"Instead, we got some European referees in the Premiership, but there is a real danger that if we don't take action going into a World Cup year, the game of rugby is going to die, be killed stone dead because the public won't come to watch.

"We'll end up playing one type of rugby in the league, another in Europe and when you get to the World Cup, wait and see which referee you get."

Venter, who had the majority of his fine suspended until 30 June 2012, was told to use the appropriate channels for any similar comments in future.

It is not the first time he has found himself in trouble with officials.

During the 2009-10 campaign he was handed a 14-week ban, later reduced to 10 weeks, by the Rugby Football Union for "making provocative and inappropriate gestures" during a match at Leicester on 8 May.

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