Racing-Metro’s Sebastien Chabal has today been banned for 60 days for criticising Top 14 referees, ending his season.
The ban was announced today after a meeting of the NRL’s disciplinary committee in Paris.
The ban could be reduced to 30 days if Chabal agrees to carry out “activities in the general interest”, including helping with the development of young players.
The ban comes into effect from today, even though Chabal has already served a two-week ban imposed by his club Racing-Metro since describing Top 14 referees as “useless” in an interview.
That means that Chabal will miss the Top 14 play-offs, in which Racing are due to play either Castres or Montpellier in Marseille on May 28.
Yesterday, France coach Marc Lievremont left the 33-year-old Chabal out of his World Cup squad, saying his decision to do so was based entirely on performance.
“I have assured Sebastien that I judged him only on sporting reasons and that the controversy had nothing to do with my choice,” he said.
“The choice was not easy because Sebastien Chabal is important in the squad, but I have chosen to rely on younger players to help the squad keep progressing.”
However, today Racing coach Pierre Berbizier said he believed Chabal was being punished.
“I am surprised and sad for Sebastien,” he said of his omission.
“He has paid for his comments about referees. He is the victim, not of sporting performances, but of the parasites that surround him and prevent him from concentrating solely on rugby.”