Mathieu Bastareaud has issued an apology, but still faces a lengthy ban after he was cited for alleged verbal abuse during Toulon’s Champions Cup match against Treviso on Sunday.
After Toulon’s 36-0 win, TV footage of Bastareaud hurling a homophobic insult at lock Sebastian Negri started circulating, while his comment was also picked up by the referee’s microphone.
Bastareaud and Negri were locked in an off-the-ball altercation, after which the French centre called Negri a ’f**king faggot’.
Following widespread criticism, the 29-year-old Bastareaud took to Twitter to apologise for any harm caused by his remarks.
‘I apologise for my reaction to insults from the Italian player. I reacted badly by responding to his provocation, I’m truly sorry for the people I might have hurt,’ Bastareaud tweeted.
Bonsoir tout le monde,
Je tiens à m’excuser de ma réaction aux insultes du joueur Italien.
J’ai mal réagi en répondant à sa provocation, j’en suis sincèrement navré pour les personnes que j’ai pu blesser.
— Mathieu Bastareaud (@BastaOfficiel) January 14, 2018
In a statement on Sunday, competition organisers European Professional Club Rugby confirmed match citing commissioner Dennis Jones had lodged an official complaint against Bastareaud for contravening Law 9.12.
The relevant World Rugby regulation states that ‘verbal abuse includes, but is not limited to abuse based on: religion, colour, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation’. The minimum ban for verbal abuse is six weeks and the maximum is 12 months. Any sanction will put Bastareaud’s participation for France during the Six Nations in jeopardy.
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