Tue 29 Apr 2014 | 12:20
Cheika faces six-month ban
Tue 29 Apr 2014 | 12:20
Cheika faces six-month banSHARE
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has pleaded guilty to misconduct relating to an incident that occurred during the Sharks and Waratahs match.
The Waratahs mentor has been banned for six months from involvement of any kind, in all forms of rugby, at any level.
However, this ban has been suspended until August next year, meaning that, should the coach breach the applicable code of conduct again, it would be triggered.
Cheika was also ordered to write an appropriate letter of apology to the SuperSport cameraman and pay costs of $AU6000.
Judicial officer Nigel Hampton ruled the following: "Shortly after half-time during the Sharks versus Waratahs match on March 29, Cheika, unfortunately and unprofessionally, vented his frustration on a match-day cameraman who was merely fulfilling his expected role for his employer.
"On reviewing all of the evidence, I found that on at least two occasions, Cheika told the cameraman to 'f*** off' in a heated way, with accompanied finger pointing.
"On at least one other occasion, but in the same heated way, the coach used the word 'f***ing' in talking to the cameraman, either in reference to that person or his equipment,
"Although, on the state of the evidence, I did not find proven that this was a threat, whether to person or to property.
"I do not regard Cheika to be a first time offender and it would be farcical to disregard other matters over the past nine years, including proven misconduct allegations from his time as a professional coach in Europe and a warning from SANZAR during the 2013 Super Rugby season.
"This matter bears a number of striking similarities with past instances, particularly the use of foul and abusive language towards those charged with running a match and the propensity of Cheika to behave in this manner is disturbing.
"Given his previous record and the factual findings of the investigation, I regard this as a serious offence and do not see it as a result of any provocation, nor is there any excuse for it.
"Respect is a core value of rugby and there must be general deterrents in place to prevent any abuse of match officials and persons charged with running the game.
"Similarly, I find it appropriate to impose a deterrent that is specific to Cheika given his past record and this present misconduct.
"This decision sends a clear message that this type of behavior and the inherent lack of respect it demonstrates is not acceptable and will not be tolerated."
Cheika has been advised of his right to appeal which must be exercised within 48 hours of the receipt of the written finding.