The Australian Rugby Union fined Quade Cooper a total of A$60,000 ($62,274) and handed the injured fly-half a suspended three-match ban for breaching its code of conduct.
Cooper, 24, attended a tribunal hearing in Sydney today after making statements on Twitter and on television criticizing the national team setup and the Wallabies’ style of play under head coach Robbie Deans.
After a hearing lasting more than four hours, Cooper was fined A$10,000 for an adverse Twitter comment relating to an ARU-licensed product and a further A$50,000, $A20,000 of which was suspended for two years, for social media and media comments made about the governing body and the Wallabies, the ARU said.
“I understand that I fell well below par of what it means to be a Wallaby,” Cooper said in a televised news conference. “For all the supporters who are out there, my apologies. From now, I’m just looking forward to the future and hopefully having a big year not only with my state but the Wallabies.”
The three-match suspension, which would apply to Super Rugby or Test matches, will only be enforced should he breach the code of conduct during the next two years, the ARU added.
Queensland Reds playmaker Cooper, who was ruled out of Australia’s tour to Europe next month following knee surgery, had described the Wallabies environment as “toxic” and said in a television interview that the setup was “destroying me as a person and as a player.”
Cooper said problems included a lack of appropriate facilities for the squad to prepare for Test matches and signaled that he was unlikely to play for Australia again unless his concerns were addressed.
New Zealand-born Cooper, who’s played 38 Tests for the Wallabies, has agreed a contract with the Reds for the next three Super Rugby seasons, although he’s yet to agree on terms with the ARU.
The governing body said it will now address Cooper’s contract situation after putting negotiations on hold pending the conclusion of the disciplinary process, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Matt Carroll said in an e-mailed statement.
“Given the tribunal has handed down its decision, this matter as far as we a concerned has been finalized,” he said.
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