By Chris Foy For Mailonline
Published: 00:10 BST, 9 September 2020 | Updated: 11:58 BST, 9 September 2020
Owen Farrell is out of Saracens' Heineken European Cup quarter-final against Leinster - and a potential semi-final too - after receiving a five-match ban for his reckless hit on Wasps rookie Charlie Atkinson.
The England captain faced a disciplinary hearing by video link and was found guilty of a dangerous tackle, which earned him a red card during last Saturday's Premiership encounter at Allianz Park. Farrell accepted the charge, but his relatively clean record and good character - the founders of a charity he works with spoke up for him - worked in his favour.
He was ruled to have committed a 'top-end' offence - due to forceful contact with Atkinson's head - but the three-man judicial panel applied the maximum 50 per cent reduction, to halve the recommended 10-game suspension. He is free to play again on October 5, by which time Saracens' Premiership campaign will be over, so Farrell has made his last top-flight appearance for at least a year.
Owen Farrell has been handed a five-game ban for a reckless high tackle against Wasps
Panel chairman Mike Hamlin said: 'It was accepted by the RFU, the player and the panel that the offending was reckless and not intentional. This was a totally unacceptable contact with the neck/head of Charlie Atkinson as a result of a reckless tackle which had the consequences of him being knocked unconscious and sustaining a concussion. This resulted in the panel concluding that this was a top-end offence with an entry point of 10 matches. There were no aggravating features.
'Testimonials provided by Mark McCall, Eddie Jones and the founders of a charity with which the player works very closely were of the highest quality. The panel concluded that applying the