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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dean Richards banned for three years following the fake blood scandal

Dean Richards, former Director of rugby at Harlequins, has been handed a three year ban from coaching following his involvement in the ‘Bloodgate’ scandal. Winger Tom Williams, who was the player it surrounded, has had his ban reduced to just 4 months.

An ERC independent appeals committee handed out the suspension following an inquisition into the fake-blood incident which had Williams leaving the field with an apparent cut to the mouth.

Richards, along with former physio Steph Brennan, was found to have been involved in four similar incidents, hence the severity of the ban.

Williams had initially been handed a years suspension, but had that cut down to four months, with Brennan receiving a two year ban for his part.

Richards had resigned last week, but was last night shocked by the banning, but did admit taking responsibility for what happened.

“I'm a little bit shocked, a little bit surprised by it all," he said.

"I took full responsibility for it. It was a farcical situation, it really was.

Part of the cover up apparently involved Williams being deliberately cut with a scalpel after the match, to hide that they had used a fake-blood capsule.

Richards said: "I have no knowledge of that. I wasn't party to anything going on there. I'm not aware that it did happen. I know that he had a cut but I don't know how it came about because I wasn't in the room."

In a statement that Williams read after the hearing, he had the following to say.

"I hope that, as a result of this episode, no player or employee will ever be put in such a compromised position, and if they are then they will always tell the truth, as I had wish I had done from the outset."

This clip features interviews from Dean Richards, Tom Williams, and then comments from former England player Phil Greening.

Time: 04:01
Thanks to Sky Sports



  • That's better.

    By Anonymous Bonzai, at August 18, 2009 3:37 pm  

  • That's more like it.

    I'm surprised at Dean Richards, he's always come across as a decent honest Guy. Even in his playing days. Such a shame. I was slowly finding myself supporting Quins after their last couple of seasons. Not anymore.

    By Anonymous Andy, at August 18, 2009 3:42 pm  

  • Feel sorry for Williams. Put in an impossible position by the coaching staff. Surprised at Richards through all this. A sad saga.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 18, 2009 4:13 pm  

  • Can someone explain to me why this was done by the player and the coaches?

    What the (Excuse the pun) bloody point?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 18, 2009 4:15 pm  

  • Anonymous.. read the linked article for the details.

    3 years is a helluva long time to be out of a job. That said, somebody has to take the fall, and I agree that Williams shouldnt have been that person.

    By Anonymous Scotsdale, at August 18, 2009 5:48 pm  

  • I guess we shouldn't be surprised - the game has gone professional and clubs continue to struggle to find the right path between what was best about an amateur ethos and what will bring success in the modern game.

    But it is extremely disappointing that it involved Richards and Quins. Who is a London rugby fan supposed to support now? Saffacens? No thanks. LONDON Irish or LONDON Wasps - neither of whom plays in London? Or Quins? Who have brought the game into such disrepute....

    Let's hope the new management team at the stoop can build on the brilliant squad Richards assembled and put this firmly behind them.

    By Anonymous Hackney Griffin, at August 18, 2009 5:56 pm  

  • Richmond?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 18, 2009 6:05 pm  

  • Terrible incident.

    Well played the disciplinary boys...confronted with the stonewall tactic in Round 1 the 12 month ban on Williams was exactly what was needed to flush Richards and Quins out.

    The sanction is extremely severe. But I can't argue against it (nb bans for eye gouging should be longer that doesn't mean this one is excessive).

    I am very disappointed in/for Dean Richards - always like & respected him.

    By Anonymous Eoghan, at August 18, 2009 6:14 pm  

  • wait people were saying there was talk of them being thrown out of the H-cup this year as a part of the ban!!

    is that happening or are they still allowwed to play in it???

    By Anonymous creggs08, at August 18, 2009 6:27 pm  

  • No, they're still in the cup - apparently the management at quins are bloody releived to get away with only the ban.

    It's a shame this happened to Richards and Harlequins, since I liked them both, but I suspect it nwould be unfair to criticise them too much - probably most clubs would do this kind of things, its just quins who got caught.

    By Anonymous Atallershanewilliams, at August 18, 2009 8:03 pm  

  • Well played. The bans need to be progressive -- the higher up the person was in this scandal, the bigger the hit.

    Banning the player only was like picking a fight at the playground... with the weakest kid.

    Have the courage to take on the kings and not just the pawns. This is the first step.

    The courageous step would have been to relegate them for a season.

    By Anonymous cheyanqui, at August 18, 2009 8:27 pm  

  • Something still not right with this story. Where the hell is Quins owner in all this.

    About time we heard or saw him admit some responsibility - instead of lining Richards up as the fall guy. Deano has a lot of integrity but appears to have been duped and let down in this sorry tail.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 18, 2009 10:25 pm  

  • Deano was a career policeman before Leicester and England duty. It's quite hard to reconcile this act with someone of his class and integrity.

    Agree we should see the sanctions extended to Quins mgmt. and not just the front-line ranks. In any other company, the CEO would be getting grief for failing to lead and manage.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 18, 2009 10:28 pm  

  • I think it unlikely that Deano was duped.

    Also, in reference to the stiff ban evans got at first instance, this was the correct if not only option for that committee.

    Consider that the only evidence is against a given person, for a very serious offence, and that person refuses to give any information as to how the offence was committed. On the evidence, the committee could only have concluded that the player was solely responsible, and did so.

    Yes, we all know that Evans did not come up with it himself, but on the evidence at the first hearing, that was all that was available to the committee. Of course, without someone blowing the whistle, there could never have been any evidence against Richards or other personnel.

    The effect of the ban was to provoke game wide sympathy for Evans and effectively force Quins and Richards plus others out by a) Evans getting himself separately represented and coming clean and b) moral pressure on Richards and Quins to save their young and far less guilty player from a 12 month sanction.

    I think they got this one spot on throughout.

    By Anonymous Eoghan, at August 18, 2009 10:31 pm  

  • Eoghan you mean Williams, not Evans.

    The reason thats being given for not disqualifying them from HCup is that its too late with Sponsor's and season tickets already sold and the new campaign weeks away. ERC don't want to put Harlequins fans out.

    I like the idea of the ERC using Williams as bait to nail Richards and the Medics. The problem now is if there is proof that Williams was cut after the game to engineer a wound then the team doctors could possibly stand to lose their medical or doctor's licenses.

    But it all comes back to the question of how many team doctors have blood capsules in their bags. Will IRB have the officals check the medic's bags prior to kick off and then again at half time?

    By Anonymous Huh!! the 3rd, at August 18, 2009 11:06 pm  

  • If you're going to cheat at least do it well, what an idiot for winking at the cameras....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 19, 2009 12:57 am  

  • I no longer have any respect for the Quins at all, this whole thing is friggin' disgraceful.

    By Anonymous BrickFight, at August 19, 2009 2:08 am  

  • "Will IRB have the officals check the medic's bags prior to kick off and then again at half time?"

    Sign me up if I get to give that South African sideline assistant a pat down; I might get distracted and miss any blood capsules if she was to try and bring them in, though.

    By Anonymous Pete, at August 19, 2009 2:42 am  

  • What were the "four similar incidents" Richards was involved in that they mentioned in the report?

    By Blogger robert, at August 19, 2009 12:09 pm  

  • 'Honesty' after the event! If 'Quins had won, what would have happened? Did they win the four other times when they are alleged to have cheated?

    By Blogger Ruairí, at August 19, 2009 12:40 pm  

  • This fool should have got more. And probably will with the four other incidents to come. Remember Richards almost became English coach last year, and in many eyes should have. Now in my opinion he should never be left coach a rugby team again. He is a disgrace and an embarrassment to the game of rugby football. Also the Quins management, as someone has said, should be questioned on their part in the incident.

    By Blogger David, at August 19, 2009 12:56 pm  

  • There are ways of bending the rules and there is all out cheating. This was cheating. They should have come clean in the beginning, I don't know how they thought they were going to get away with it.

    Shame that a player had to get cought up in the middle of it. I'm glad they were not put of the heineken cup for the fans sake, and I'm Irish! They are one of the only English clubs I that I liked to see winning!

    ERC got this spot on.

    By Anonymous Sean, at August 19, 2009 1:41 pm  

  • Why is he so surprised that blatant cheating is being punished so harshly.
    Who the hell does he think he is?
    Richards is an idiot.

    By Anonymous Lennox, at August 20, 2009 7:09 am  

  • I think the year ban should have stood. Pressure or no pressure from the boss. Club officials should have been indited from the start as well.

    3 years for Richards was not dis-proportionate. Let him rot.

    I disagree with all comments saying it wasn't as bas as gouging. I felt it was just as bad.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 21, 2009 1:39 am  

  • It seems as though everyone is under the impression that Tom Williams is not the bad one in this whole event.

    Pressure or no pressure from the coaching staff he should never had agreed to cheat, he should not have winked at the camera and all to bring on a New Zealander with a dodgy knee to snatch at a drop goal.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 21, 2009 11:42 am  

  • Jeez, you guys are so quick to criticize when you don't know half of what has gone on behind the scenes. Richards was unlucky...there but for the grace of God goes virtually every other Director of Rugby or Head Coach. That doesn't condone what he did, but cheating is rife within the game, especially now in the professional era. He got caught. 3 years is a reflection of the pc society we are living in and the rush to harsh judgement led by the appalling media we have in this country and the fools that read them. Williams is a young fool, Richards one of the greatest coaches we have. A sad day.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 21, 2009 5:18 pm  

  • Cheats never prosper, as has been shown here. If I was Richards, I wouldn't have the gall to show myself in professional rugby ever again.

    Shame that even after the decision, Richards was still trying to downplay his own role - didn't know anything about the cut? BS! He may not have seen it happen but to ask others to believe that he knew nothing about the incident in ludicrous.

    A sad day for English Rugby.

    By Blogger Blue Rock, at August 23, 2009 11:03 am  

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