London - Sale wing Tom Arscott has been suspended by his club over an alleged leak of information to English Premiership rivals Bristol that is now being investigated by the Rugby Football Union.
Monday saw confirmation that Sale had complained to the RFU over the "passing of information to the opposition team" ahead of their 24-23 loss at home to Bristol on New Year's Day.
The result was a huge boost for basement club Bristol, reviving their bid to avoid relegation with a win against another side near the bottom of the table.
Arscott is a former Bristol player and his brother, Luke, remains with the southwest club.
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond revealed Tuesday that the Manchester club had suspended Tom Arscott since January 4.
"We investigated it internally and we are going through a disciplinary, and under the regulations, we have to report it (to the RFU), so we did that yesterday," explained Diamond.
"It's now in the hands of the RFU. He is suspended."
Diamond, who did not provide details of the case against Tom Arscott, added: "I think when you sign a professional contract, team information is sacrosanct to the team's performance and that can't be discussed, certainly with opposition teams."
Bristol responded by saying they were "absolutely confident" no wrongdoing had taken place and that, while the Arscott brothers met on New Year's Eve -- the night before the match -- no significant information changed hands.
"We are aware of Sale contacting the RFU with regards to their complaint. We have yet to hear from RFU about this," said Bristol coach Mark Tainton.
"From what we are aware -- and I stress, without any contact from the RFU on the full nature of the complaint -- we are entirely comfortable that Bristol Rugby have done nothing wrong.
"Tom Arscott and Luke Arscott met on New Year's Eve at the team hotel, which is not unusual, for family living in different parts of the country to meet up.
"Following the conversation between the brothers, nothing was said or passed to the Bristol coaches of any sporting value, nor did it change the strategy in which we approached the game in any way, shape or form."
Neither of the Arscott brothers played in the match. Tom was not included in Sale's 23-man squad, while Luke was an unused replacement.