Sale Sharks’ executive director of sport is to be charged with two counts of verbally abusing match officials following their defeat at London Irish. If, as expected he is found guilty he is set to face a long touchline ban, which will no doubt have a significant impact on the Sharks fortunes over the next few weeks or months.
Diamond appears before the panel on Tuesday and he will have to answer to the charges relating to the comments he made regarding Wayne Barnes and his two assistants Rhys Davies and Gareth Copsey in his post match outburst.
Diamond was last October charged and received a 12 week suspended touchline ban as well as a hefty fine. If found guilty this week Diamond will have this suspended ban activated and any further sanction on top of this.
At the hearing for the offence, pushing Northampton’s head of fitness, Diamond was warned about the consequences he would face if found guilty of a similar offence and was also ordered to take a course in media training before the end of this season.
Since Diamond’s appointment in the latter parts of last season the Sharks have drastically improved. Having been dangerously close to relegation in the last few campaigns they now sit nicely at the business end of the table and look set to be in the mix for a play-off place at the end of the year.
The Sharks lost the game to which the charge relates 21-19 with Irish being awarded a late penalty for a scrum infringement, which they successfully scored much to Diamond’s anger. “I’m not whingeing, but if the referee is going to make his interpretations let it be consistent. That is what we are after. It is hard to take when such a crucial decision is made like that. He [Barnes] has to be 100% right that we wheeled the scrum. He ought to come to a coaching session and see that the wheel went out of the game 10 years ago.”
The panel are likely to conclude that Diamond has breached their guidelines and he could well be set for a lengthy spell away from the touchline.