Dean Richards has been banned from coaching for three years by the ERC for his part in the Harlequins 'Bloodgate' scandal.
Richards, 46, was found to be at the centre of a cover-up over an incident in Quins’ Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat to Leinster in April in which wing Tom Williams faked a blood injury.
Former England forward Richards was also found to have been involved in four similar cover-ups, hence the severity of his punishment, which applies to ERC-organised tournaments but which the ERC will request is extended worldwide.
Richards, who resigned as the club’s director of rugby last weekend, admitted his guilt during a 14-hour independent committee meeting in Glasgow.
Charges against him were originally dismissed by a disciplinary committee last month.
The meeting chaired by Rod McKenzie came about after the ERC’s own disciplinary officer, Roger O’Connor, contested that decision.
It is thought O’Connor was seeking Quins’ expulsion from this season’s Heineken Cup but the club escaped that sanction.
O’Connor also contested the decision to dismiss charges against former Quins physio Steph Brennan, who was handed a two-year ban for his part in the scandal.
Last month’s hearing saw Williams admit faking a facial cut during the April 12 defeat to Leinster in order that substituted drop-goal specialist Nick Evans could re-enter the field of play.
Williams was banned for 12 months but saw that suspension reduced on appeal to four months tonight after providing evidence implicating Richards and Brennan, who has been England physio since the summer.
Williams will now be able to resume playing on November 20.
The decision to dismiss charges against club medic Dr Wendy Chapman was upheld after the independent committee decided it lacked jurisdiction in her case.
The club saw their original fine of £250,000 - 50% of which was suspended for two years - increased to £300,000, with none suspended.
Reacting to his ban, Richards said: “I’m surprised. Three years is a long time but I’ll reflect on it overnight.
“I took full responsibility for it. It was a farcical situation, it really was.
“It didn’t pan out particularly well on the day. Everybody looked at it and thought, ‘That’s unreal’, which is what I thought on the touchline as well.
“But I had to hold my hands up.”