Phil Blake: Former Leicester Tigers coach banned for six months

Phil Blake
Phil Blake worked in rugby league prior to his spell at Leicester

Ex-Leicester Tigers coach Phil Blake has been banned from all rugby activity for six months for two breaches of anti-corruption and betting rules.

Blake, 51, who left Tigers in April, was found guilty by an RFU panel of charges related to eight separate bets.

The bets were placed on two Tigers games while he was their defence coach.

The matches were a European Champions Cup game against Toulon on 13 December 2014 and a Premiership encounter with Newcastle on 8 March this year.

The disciplinary panel also imposed a fine of £669, which was the profit made on the bets placed, and ordered Blake to pay costs of £500.

An appeal lodged by Blake against the length of his suspension was dismissed.

Panel chairman Christopher Quinlan said: "This is the first such case that we know of in rugby union and is certainly the first brought under the relatively new Regulation 17, so this is new ground.

Toulon v Leicester
Blake placed bets on the European Champions Cup game between Toulon and Leicester in December 2014

"In arriving at the appropriate sanction we have been careful to remind ourselves that we must not make an example of Phil Blake.

"We have imposed a sanction which we consider fair and proportionate to what he did, while having due regard to the proper consideration of deterrence.

"We have sought to strike a proper balance between the competing factors and arrive at a sanction we consider to be just.

"We must have regard to the wider interests of the game. It is important that those involved in the game and the wider public understand that any breach of the anti-corruption and betting regulations will and must be treated seriously."

London-born Blake has coached in both rugby codes and had a spell as defence and skills coach with the Australia union side when Robbie Deans was in charge.

He was appointed by Leicester in June 2014, having been head coach of rugby union side Manly.

In a statement, Leicester acknowledged the panel's decision and said the club "fully endorses the governing body's regard for the wider interests of the game in respect of any breaches of the anti-corruption and betting regulations".

The statement added that Blake "was a popular and valued member of the coaching team" and that the club "hope he is fully able to return to the game in a suitable capacity".

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