Gloucester are 'surprised and disappointed' at the RFU's decision to charge Danny Cipriani with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game.
Cipriani was fined £2,000 on Thursday after pleading guilty following an incident outside a nightclub in Jersey, where the England international was with Gloucester teammates during their preseason tour. The team were expected to bring their own procedures against Cirpiani, but have now been blindsided by the RFU's decision.
RFU head of discipline David Barnes made the decision to charge Cipriani after he fell short of the "high standards that we expect across the game." There are no official guidelines around the rule that Cipriani has been charged with, meaning should he be found guilty, punishment could range from a warning or a fine right up to a suspension.
However, Gloucester believe that the RFU are making an unfair example out of Cipriani.
"We are surprised and extremely disappointed to have recently received notification of disciplinary action against Danny Cipriani by the RFU," said Gloucester Rugby CEO Stephen Vaughan.
"Yesterday afternoon I received a personal assurance from the RFU that no disciplinary discussions would take place until we had completed our own conversations as stated in our club release.
"There is no historic precedent of a player being singled out in this manner, and we feel that this disciplinary process has been influenced by the significant media coverage of this week's events and other external factors and not based on the actual facts of the matter."
The news of Cipriani's charge comes hours after Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond, who worked with Cipriani during his time with the club, leapt to Cipriani's defence over the incident.
Eddie Jones recently recalled Cipriani to his England squad after a long international exile, but warned that ill-discipline would cost him any chance of adding to his 16 Test caps for his country. Despite this, Diamond believes the incident should not end the star's England career.
"It would be too harsh," Diamond told BBC Radio 5 live. "England need all the help they can get at the moment, and players like him are few and far between.
"When you employ a rugby player, you know you are not employing the Pope.
"They are young lads; it's still pre-season. They have gone away on a tour and are getting what they need out of it.
"An incident happens, and I think if anything he should know a bit better than most, as people are waiting for him to make mistakes.
"The magistrates have dealt with it quickly, he's paid his fine, apologised profusely and we move on."
Cipriani will not play a part in Gloucester's opening pre-season match against Ulster this weekend.