Tom Arscott: Sale Sharks winger leaked team information to Bristol - RFU
Sacked Sale Sharks winger Tom Arscott has been found guilty of passing on confidential team information to Bristol by the Rugby Football Union.
The 29-year-old met with his brother, Bristol back Luke, at their team hotel the night before Bristol's 24-23 Premiership win at Sale on 1 January.
The RFU investigation found Bristol were aware of some of Sale's defensive tactics but there was "no evidence to demonstrate" a change in strategy.
Arscott was given a written warning.
In addition, Arscott - who was suspended by Sale on 4 January and sacked 16 days later after an internal investigation - will be required to undertake a relevant World Rugby education module.
'Arscott has already paid a heavy price'
The RFU interviewed 25 people from both clubs after it was alleged Arscott breached regulation 17, which relates to anti-corruption and betting.
He was cleared of breaching that law as there was no evidence of betting or fixing, but the details that were passed were "inside information" relating to regulation 17.2.
Bristol boss Mark Tainton insisted "nothing of any sporting value" had been passed on to his coaches when it was claimed initially that Arscott had provided them with confidential details.
The RFU stated that two Bristol coaches were aware of Sale's proposed defensive structure and line-out details, but it was found that they "did not fail to comply with the relevant reporting requirements in relation to the inside information that the club received".
Neither Tom nor Luke Arscott entered the field during the match.
RFU head of discipline Gerard McEvilly said: "In determining what action should be taken following the investigation, we have taken into account that Tom Arscott has already paid a heavy price for his conduct in having been dismissed from his employment by Sale Sharks.
"These issues have arisen because of the inappropriate sharing of information while players were socialising in the same hotel before the match.
"Therefore, the RFU is strongly recommending to both clubs that all their players are reminded of their contractual and ethical obligations to their employing clubs and of the problems that may arise should confidential/inside information be passed between individuals."
'An extremely difficult period'
Arscott, who has played for Bristol, Plymouth, Worcester and London Welsh, has responded to the decision by saying he wants to start playing again.
"I wish to state that although I am disappointed with the outcome, I would now like to draw a line under this episode," he said in statement from the Rugby Players Association.
"This has been an extremely difficult period for me, my family and friends and I would like to thank all those who have supported me. I look forward to resuming my playing career as soon as possible.
"I will not be making any further statement on the matter."