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Brennan ban reduced
PA Sport
June 11, 2007

Former Ireland lock Trevor Brennan today had his life ban from rugby union reduced to five years by an independent appeal committee.

Brennan, 33, was handed the original suspension in March after being found guilty of assaulting supporter Patrick Banford during Toulouse's fractious Heineken Cup win over Ulster.

The appeals panel upheld the original verdict but ruled a life ban was ``disproportionate and should be reduced''.

Brennan must still pay a fine of 25,000 Euros (PS17,000) plus 5,000 Euros (PS3,500) in compensation to Bamford. He is also liable for costs.

He retired as a professional with Toulouse in March but is banned from playing at all levels of the game.

He is also barred from participating in any European Rugby Cup tournaments in any capacity for the five years.

Both suspensions run from June 1, 2007.

An ERC statement read: ``Having heard from Mr Brennan, several character witnesses and from ERC's disciplinary officer during the appeal hearing, the appeal committee found that although the incident was of a very serious nature, in their view the original suspension - which was the maximum available - was disproportionate and should be reduced.

''The appeal committee therefore suspended Mr Brennan from playing rugby union for five years and furthermore imposed a five-year suspension on Mr Brennan from participating in ERC tournaments in any capacity.''

Brennan pre-empted the original verdict by retiring from professional rugby with Toulouse in March.

The original disciplinary panel recommended Brennan be ``expelled from the family of rugby'' and handed down the most stringent penalty available to it.

But the appeals committee - chaired by Justice Wyn Williams (WRU) and including Robert Horner (RFU) and Sheriff William Dunlop (SRU) - disagreed.

They ruled Brennan's actions could not be considered ``an example of the most serious misconduct which a player could commit in relation to a spectator''.

The panel's final verdict explains: ``In our judgement it is possible to envisage more serious incidents.

``It is certainly possible to envisage incidents in which the consequences are significantly more serious than were the consequences in this case.''

As a result they ruled the five years bans to be appropriate and rejected Brennan's appeals against the fine and compensation payment.

They agreed with the compensation payment as equivalent to that a court may hand down in a civil case and concluded: ``We are wholly unpersuaded that the financial orders made against the Appellant are inappropriate.''

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