Paris - A French court has fined Fijian rugby player Alowesi Nailiko over a tackle which left a rival player quadriplegic, the French rugby federation confirmed on Monday.
Limoges player Pierre Tarance was left paralysed after being tackled by the much larger Nailiko, playing for rivals Vannes, in a third division match in October 2010.
The court gave the Fijian a suspended fine of €1 500 while Tarance had already been paid €4.5 million damages by the federation.
A further trial in May will however fix a final damages package for Tarance.
The French Rugby Federation denied that they had tried to cover up the affair which never came before its disciplinary committee, in order to avoid costly compensation cases by injured players.
French rugby federation chief Pierre Camou said that the refereeing team at the time had judged there had been no intent to injure, putting the incident down to a clumsy tackle.
"We think the same thing as (French referees chief) Didier Mene in 2010: that there was no need to call on the disciplinary committee. Yes there was a technical foul (the tackle) but there was no intention to hurt," Camou told AFP.
"If the referees judged that there was no grounds to approach the disciplinary committee why would we?"