Steve Diamond: Sale Sharks boss charged over comments after Exeter Chiefs loss

Steve Diamond
Steve Diamond has been director of rugby at Sale Sharks since 2012

Sale Sharks boss Steve Diamond has been charged by the Rugby Football Union for comments made after their Premiership defeat by Exeter Chiefs on 27 October.

In an interview, Diamond "allegedly failed to respect the authority of the match referee Craig Maxwell-Keys".

The 49-year-old director of rugby appeared to take issue with a decision made at the end of the game, which Sale lost 10-6 at the AJ Bell Stadium.

"Well, he was making it up, wasn't he?" he told BT Sport after the match.

Diamond has officially been charged with "conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game" and his hearing will take place on 16 November.

"The ref was making the decision up," added Diamond in his post-match television interview. "There were 40 or 50 rucks that should have been penalised if that's a penalty.

"We found out in Europe the refereeing is abysmal, and we found out tonight [against Exeter] that if referees want to come up here and make it up, then they can do."

The charge comes under RFU rule 5.12 so there are no set entry points for any possible punishment or suspension, so any sanction will be decided by the panel.

Premiership Rugby declined to respond to Diamond's comments when contacted by BBC Sport.

Diamond has fallen foul of the RFU on a number of occasions in the past.

In 2011, he was given a 12-week suspended ban after admitting a charge of pushing Northampton Saints performance director Nick Johnston, and making inappropriate comments in a TV interview.

The following year he was banned for 18 weeks for abusing match officials, and in February he received a six-week touchline ban, half of it suspended, for a similar offence.

Analysis

BBC Radio 5 live rugby reporter Chris Jones

Diamond was especially frustrated by a late penalty which went against Sale, and although there are no suggestions he confronted the referee or used any coarse language, the powers-that-be clearly feel he has a case to answer in light of the television interview.

His rap sheet when it comes to abuse of match officials may also count against him. Diamond had a fine and a touchline ban part suspended earlier this year, and this will be activated in the event of a similar offence.

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