Following the hearing held and decision made by the ERC panel on the 20th of July, the Club has conducted its own review of the incident. This review is still ongoing. As part of this process, the Club has waited for the written judgement to ensure it had considered carefully the concerns and position of the ERC disciplinary panel. The panel found the Club guilty on two counts. Firstly, that through the act of the player a wound or blood injury was fabricated by some means and secondly, that the club failed to instil in the player a sufficient respect for the laws of the game and ERC. The Panel imposed a fine of 250,000 Euros, half of which was suspended.
The Club fully accepts the verdicts and sanctions imposed upon the Club since it is accountable for the failings of its staff. During the course of this process Dean Richards unreservedly tendered his resignation from his post as Director of Rugby. The board of Harlequins has accepted his resignation.
The Club feels strongly that the severity of the sanction meted out to Tom Williams is unfair and disproportionate and the Club will support him in the event of an appeal on his part against the 12 month playing ban currently in place.
We acknowledge that this whole episode has tarnished the image of the Club which has always sought to uphold the highest standards. The level of scrutiny that clubs such as Harlequins now find themselves under means that procedures and processes which may have served us well in the past are no longer adequate. The Club is urgently undertaking a thorough review of its internal policies with a view to establishing an appropriate ethics code for all staff (both playing and non playing) covering a wide range of areas including respect for the laws of the game.
While this process is still progressing there will no further comment from the club.
Harlequins fan Ed Atkin won the Etihad Airways 'Up and Under' competition at the Northampton Saints game. As a result, he and a friend have won a holiday to Abu Dhabi courtesy of Etihad Airways and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.