Derby pair fined six weeks’ wages following drink-driving charge

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Derby have fined Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett the “equivalent of six weeks’ wages” and condemned the pair for bringing the club into disrepute following the “alcohol-related incident” of September 24.

Midfielder Lawrence, 25, and forward Bennett, 23, were charged with drink-driving after a crash in Derby’s Allestree area last week – a collision in which club captain Richard Keogh suffered a serious leg injury.

Following a disciplinary hearing into the incident, Derby have fined both players the “maximum contractual limit” and told them to serve an “additional 80 hours of community and rehabilitation”, which includes a drink aware course.

A statement on the club’s official website read: “The club will not tolerate any of its players or staff behaving in a manner which puts themselves, their colleagues, and members of the general public at risk of injury or worse, or which brings the club into disrepute.

“Both Lawrence and Bennett are therefore being fined the equivalent of six weeks’ wages – the maximum contractual limit – and will serve an additional 80 hours of community and rehabilitation, which will include a drink aware course.

“The club will be making no further comment regards this matter.”

Bennett and Lawrence will appear in court to answer charges of drink-driving on October 15.

Tom Lawrence is in the latest Wales squad despite his legal troubles
Tom Lawrence is in the latest Wales squad despite his legal troubles (Joe Giddens/PA)

“Being a footballer and someone who young fans look up to I know the example I set is key. I am ashamed. At 23 I am old enough, and I was brought up, to know better.

“I understand that such actions have serious consequences. I take full responsibility for my actions and accept the punishment that the club has issued.

“I have to and will learn from these events and will strive to be a better person.

“There’s no excuse for what I’ve done. I’m sorry to my family, my friends, the club, all Derby supporters and to the wider football community, I let you all down.”

Both players were left out of the Derby squad who beat Birmingham last Saturday but Lawrence played all 90 minutes of Wednesday’s 2-2 draw at Barnsley, with Bennett appearing from the bench late on.

Lawrence has been selected by Wales boss Ryan Giggs for international duty and his date at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court will come two days after a vital Euro 2020 qualifier against Croatia.

Their team-mate Keogh, meanwhile, could be out for more than a year. The PA news agency understands the 33-year-old defender has damaged his anterior cruciate ligament as well as other ligaments in his knee.

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