Senior sections are responsible for behaviour of their junior and mini sections.
Senior members of clubs work hard in the week and on Saturdays. It is not reasonable for them to give up their Sundays as well. Yet, all games played at the club should be monitored. The Club's own Disciplinary Committee should not be reactive but proactive: enrol other club members to help on a rota basis. Clubs are aware of their potential issues: and visiting clubs should also monitor unnecessary.
The RFU disciplinary regulations are set out in Regulation 19 in the RFU Handbook. They are also available online at www.rfu.com/TheGame/Regulations Recommended Sanctions are set out in Appendix 2 to Regulation 19. The procedures relating to age grade rugby, i.e. Under 18 and Schools are set out in Appendix 6 to Regulation 19, which also includes the sanctions. The flow chart for procedures to be used in disciplinary hearings is set out in Appendix 7 to Regulation 19.
If you need guidance, D&W RFU has its advisers to help you:
- Philip Kennedy to help you with Disciplinary matters
- Dave Harris - Safeguarding, Health & Safety, Youth Discipline.
- Dave Wookey - Juniors/Minis Regulations. Player registration. Safeguarding Audits.
Unless we respond firmly to bad behaviour on the pitch and on the touchline, this problem will get out of control. Clubs must discipline their players, officials and spectators.
Referees are quite right to abandon games when behaviour deteriorates.
Please remember that clubs and individuals will be called before the disciplinary committee if their conduct brings the game into disrepute.
The RFU distributes posters such as the Code of Rugby, to all clubs. These reminders should be on prominent display in Clubhouses.
Coaches and others who foment trouble must be banned from the touchline.
Clubs will know their potential issues, All youth coaches should attend the Play it Safe course which advises on management of youth players and their behaviour towards them.
To those clubs which already take a firm stance and deal with these problems D&W thank you.
The following notes are intended to help clubs administer discipline but are no substitute for reading the RFU Disciplinary Regulations in full.
CLUB PROCEDURE FOLLOWING THE SENDING-OFF OF A PLAYER
Every club is required to have a properly constituted Disciplinary Committee that is charged with maintaining the standards of discipline within the club. It is strongly recommended that this committee be pro-active rather than reactive.
As stated in RFU Regulation 19, in all circumstances Club Secretaries must report to the Chairman or Secretary of the Dorset & Wilts Disciplinary Panel within 48 hours after the match the name, address and contact telephone number of any player who has been ordered off the playing enclosure, including players under the age of 17. Referees are also required to submit a report in the prescribed form. (There are no exceptions to this and it applies equally to Society, to non-society referees and to those who ‘just take up the whistle’.)
In accordance with RFU Regulation 19, the Dorset & Wilts Disciplinary Panel will charge a fee of £75.00 towards the disciplinary hearing expenses. This fee rises to £100.00 if the process is not complied with.
These contributions cover the administration costs (including Panel travel), the hiring of rooms and equipment. In addition if a club is subject to a disciplinary hearing then that club must pay the costs incurred.
The charge for a citing is £125.00 and any extra expenses must be paid by the club, not by D&W RFU.
Age grade regulation applies to school and youth rugby and representative rugby up to and including U18 teams. Where a player aged under 18 is playing in an Under 20’s or an adult team (s)he is subject to the RFU regulations, which apply to all adult players as covered in the RFU Discipline Regulations).
If a player is sent off or cited in a school match then that player’s head teacher has the responsibility for taking disciplinary action against him or her, under the guidance of the Dorset & Wilts Disciplinary Panel (acting through its Chairman in the absence of a Schools & Youth Disciplinary Secretary).
OUTLINE OF PROCEDURE FOR DISCIPLINARY HEARINGS(INCLUDING U17S/U18S PLAYING AT ADULT LEVEL)
The panel should ideally consist of three people.
The player must be heard and can be represented.
The hearing should be conducted in accordance with the RFU Disciplinary Regulations set out above, adapted as necessary to the circumstances.
The referee’s report will be read or details of the conduct alleged will be explained. The person appearing before the panel should be asked whether the allegations are admitted. If they are, the Panel will then hear representations in mitigation before deciding on the sanction or sentence.
If the allegations are not admitted, the Panel will hear the evidence in the following sequence:
Witnesses supporting the allegation will be heard and cross-examined.
The person against whom the allegations are made shall be entitled to give and to call evidence in rebuttal subject, again, to cross-examination.
The chairman will then invite all persons other than the members of the Disciplinary Panel to retire whilst the panel considers its decision in private.
The panel will decide whether, on the balance of probabilities, they find the case proven or not. They should provide the player with reasons for their findings.
The standard of proof in disciplinary cases is the balance of probabilities and not, as in a criminal court, beyond reasonable doubt.
The panel usually has no power to impose a fine; but it will charge the administrative fee for the hearing and it may also award reasonable travel costs incurred by witnesses against the player or player’s school or club.
The principles of natural justice, as they apply to RFU disciplinary matters, should be applied. The player must be advised of his right to appeal any decision and that (s) he must do this within 14 days of the hearing.