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Published: 09:54 | 6/4/16

Marler banned for slur


England prop Joe Marler has been banned for two matches and fined £20,000 for his 'gypsy boy' slur on Wales forward Samson Lee.

Marler avoided any sanction from Six Nations chiefs and the Rugby Football Union following the incident in the RBS Six Nations match between the two sides on March 12.

The England player apologised to Lee at half-time but World Rugby launched an investigation into the matter and subsequently charged the 25-year-old with misconduct.

"Joe Marler has been suspended for two matches and fined £20,000 to be paid to a suitable equality charity in the UK after an independent judicial committee upheld a misconduct charge against the player at a hearing in London today," World Rugby said in a statement.

"A misconduct charge was brought by World Rugby against Marler in relation to a breach of Regulation 20 and the code of conduct, for comments made towards Samson Lee during the England versus Wales RBS 6 Nations match at Twickenham on 12 March.

"Regulation 20 and the code of conduct both cover statements that are unsporting and/or insulting and/or discriminatory by reason of race or ethnic origin, which bring or have the potential to bring the game into disrepute.

"The charge was admitted in its entirety by Marler and upheld by the independent judicial panel comprising Terry Willis (chair, Australia), Jean-Noel Couraud (France) and Alan Hudson (Canada)."

The statement continued: "Following a full review of all the evidence, including a detailed analysis of the broadcast feed, referee microphone, statements and submissions on behalf of Marler by his representative Mark Milliken-Smith QC, and World Rugby, the committee found:

"That Marler had used unsporting and discriminatory language towards Lee.

"That by his actions, Marler had breached World Rugby Regulation 20 and the code of conduct and brought the game into disrepute.

"That Marler was proactive in apologising to Lee at half-time during the match, and that he subsequently issued a public and unreserved apology for his comments.

"That Marler is a person of good character and had no similar misconduct charges."

Marler has a right to appeal but the prop has accepted the decision and will miss Harlequins European Challenge Cup quarter-final against London Irish as well as the Aviva Premiership clash with Saracens.

"We acknowledge the outcome of today's hearing," an RFU spokesman said. "The decision will not be appealed, and we now consider the matter closed.

"Our views on the subject are already on the record. We will not be making any further comment."

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