Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ex-Bath quartet to face RFU panel

Four former Bath players will face a Rugby Football Union (RFU) disciplinary panel charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game.

Michael Lipman, Alex Crockett, Andrew Higgins and Justin Harrison will face the panel on a date yet to be decided.

The quartet will all answer charges including taking prohibited substances and refusing to take a drugs test.

The trio of Lipman, 29, Crockett and Higgins, both 27, have denied claims they refused to provide samples.

The RFU's announcement comes two weeks after club captains Lipman and Crockett, along with Higgins, walked out of Bath in protest at claims they avoided drug tests on three occasions in the aftermath of an end-of-season party.

They were due to face an internal hearing at Bath but quit before it commenced, saying "scurrilous and unsubstantiated allegations" had forced their exit.

Former Australia international Harrison, 35, announced his retirement from the game on 20 May in the wake of stories alluding to an incident a west London bar on the night of Bath's end-of-season party.

The RFU has continued its investigations into the affair and now believes there is a case to answer.

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