The Rugby Football Union are to investigate whether Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter should face charges of bringing the game into disrepute for his comments about referees.
Venter last night launched an extraordinary attack on the performance of referee David Rose and the standard of officiating in general following Saracens’ 22-15 defeat to Leicester.
The former South Africa international stated the “lottery” of referees’ decision-making was killing attacking rugby – and he effectively accused officials of lacking the same professionalism as the players and coaches.
On Rose’s performance in particular, Venter was furious with the amount Saracens were penalised in the second half and he seemed to imply the referee had been influenced during the interval.
Venter revealed he had received an apology from the RFU for the performance of referee Dean Richards in Saracens’ defeat to London Irish last weekend.
The RFU today branded Venter’s diatribe “highly inappropriate” and revealed an investigation would be launched.
“It is the RFU’s view that such negative public commentary on the performance of referees, either individually or collectively, and the disclosure of confidential discussions held between the RFU and Mr Venter are highly inappropriate and do not enhance the image of the game,” the RFU said in a statement.
“The RFU legal officer will be investigating the matter to decide if there is a case to answer under Rule 5.12 for bringing the game into disrepute and if there is will refer that to the disciplinary officer.
“In addition this behaviour and those comments are also a clear contravention of the Code of Conduct established between the RFU and Premier Rugby Limited (PRL) and personally signed by the directors of rugby.
“The RFU will be working with PRL to ensure that discussions are had with Mr Venter to remind him of his responsibilities under that code of conduct and take appropriate disciplinary action.”