BATH have been fined £60,000 by Premiership Rugby after back row forward Taulupe Faletau played for Wales outside the international window earlier this month.

The Rec club today confirmed they had received the fine following the release of Faletau to play in his country's 24-22 victory over South Africa at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on December 2.

Wales' Under Armour Series finale fell outside the World Rugby autumn Test match window, and England's Premiership clubs have a blanket approach not to release players for those games.

Faletau, capped 70 times by his country, has a clause in his Bath contract giving him full release for Wales, but a punishment precedent was set when Premiership Rugby fined Northampton £60,000 after they released Wales wing George North to face Australia outside the 2013 autumn window.

A Bath Rugby statement said: "Bath Rugby can confirm they have received a fine of £60,000 from Premiership Rugby following the release of Taulupe Faletau to play in a Wales test match outside the IRB 9 window this autumn. This fine covers the length of Faletau’s current contract with the club.

Bath chief executive Tarquin McDonald said: “We understand Premiership Rugby’s position on this, and have subsequently worked proactively with them to swiftly achieve a fair resolution.

"We believed this situation would change, that has not yet happened and we have therefore come to an appropriate settlement with Premiership Rugby.

“However, we continue to believe that there is appetite for change and that this on-going conflict between the club and international calendars is not good for players, clubs or unions.

"We continue to support the objective of a solution for the separation of club and international calendars in a way which benefits players, clubs and unions, and brings an end to situations such as this.”

Premiership Rugby defended their policy of enforcing sanctions for clubs flouting the rulings, in confirming Bath's acceptance of punishment.

"This board policy has been an essential one, especially as there has been an increasing number of international matches being organised outside the specified international weeks," said a Premiership Rugby spokesman.

"The agreed policy is well known to clubs, players and unions.

"Bath Rugby have today been fined £60,000 after admitting breaching Premiership Rugby Board policies," read a Premiership Rugby statement.

"The sanction was imposed under an independent process managed by Sport Resolutions.

"It relates to the Premiership Rugby Board policy around international duty and specifically Taulupe Faletau being released for a fourth international outside the periods specified in World Rugby Regulation 9.

"The policy is only to release non-England players for Tests matches in accordance with the requirements of World Rugby Regulation 9.

"Bath Rugby's full co-operation with the process was acknowledged and, in mitigation, it was decided to reduce the initial £90,000 sanction to £60,000, a figure that covers the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons."