'Bloodgate' doctor suspended by GMC
September 16, 2009
Quins winger Tom Williams alleged the Chapman agreed to cut his lip as part of the injury cover-up © Getty Images
The doctor at the centre of the "Bloodgate" scandal has been suspended by the General Medical Council (GMC).
Wendy Chapman was said to have cut the mouth of Tom Williams in an attempt to conceal his use of a fake blood capsule during Harlequins' Heineken Cup match against Leinster.
A spokeswoman for the GMC confirmed that Dr Chapman had been handed an interim suspension but refused to comment on what it related to.
"Dr Wendy Chapman has been given an interim suspension," said the GMC spokeswoman. "We are not able to confirm what it is in relation to due to our duty of confidentiality. At this stage, there are no formal allegations that the doctor is facing. The interim suspension does not necessarily mean that the doctor will go before a Fitness to Practise Panel."
She said the GMC had up to 18 months to consider whether to take action against Dr Chapman.
Former Quins rugby director Dean Richards was banned for three years, ex-club physiotherapist Steph Brennan received a two-year punishment and Quins wing Williams landed a four-month suspension following the "bloodgate" fake injury scandal and subsequent attempted cover-up.
Williams, who had his suspension reduced by eight months on appeal, bit on a fake blood capsule as Richards tried to get goalkicker Nick Evans back on the field in an attempt to win a game Quins eventually lost 6-5. Quins were also fined almost £260,000.
European Rugby Cup (ERC) revealed earlier this month that they had been contacted by the GMC seeking information regarding Dr Chapman's involvement in the disciplinary process. Dr Chapman was Quins' match-day doctor for the Leinster game.
In his evidence to the appeals hearing in Glasgow, Williams alleged that Chapman - at his suggestion - agreed to cut his lip as part of the injury cover-up.
Last week, the Rugby Football Union announced that Harlequins would face no further charges over the scandal. Twickenham's disciplinary chief, Judge Jeff Blackett, decided there was insufficient evidence to launch misconduct proceedings against Quins chief executive Mark Evans or the club's former chairman, Charles Jillings.
He was also satisfied that the club had not attempted to buy Williams' silence once they did discover the full scope of the situation. Evans was criticised for not reporting the full facts to ERC as soon as he learned them - but Blackett decided that prolonging the whole process would do rugby more harm than good.
Williams saw his suspension reduced after he decided to reveal the full story of the incident, which happened in April, and the subsequent cover-up to the appeals panel.
Early in the process, Quins had been anxious that Williams only appeal on a "limited basis", fearing a full disclosure would result in the club being thrown out of European competition and also for the potential professional impact on Brennan and Dr Chapman.
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