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Disciplinary Action Reminder


With the Competitive Season upon us, we urge you to review the required processes for disciplinary action, cards and/or foul play. As a TRRA Referee or Assistant Referee (hereby referred to as Referee) you are above all responsible for the safety of the players.

Referees must notify TRU Disciplinary Committee of the issuance of a red or yellow card within 48 hours of the match date by entering the incident report online. Note that there is also a Mobile Disciplinary Form for tournaments or quick submissions at the field.

TRRA Process for Foul Play

During the match

  1. Witness the yellow or red card infraction. Keep in mind that this is a serious matter, and if you do not actually witness the infraction or receive confirmation from your assistant referee/touch judge as to what happened, do not issue a card – your credibility is at stake.

    1. If you or your AR/TJ do not witness the incident, it still MUST be addressed.

      1. Make sure to get the correct individual who committed the infraction (preferably team affiliation & number should be recognized). Take a bit of extra time to confirm the incident with your AR/TJ or review the incident in your mind. It is CRITICAL that the right person is identified, otherwise it creates a great deal of problems for the disciplinary committee.

    2. We do acknowledge that not all matches will have ARs and will often include Team TJs. Keep in mind that they “should” be impartial and we encourage you to respect the information they provide. Without ARs you are responsible for identifying the infraction, related players and their team affiliations.

  2. Stop play and call both the player who committed the infraction and the captain over to you, away from both teams. Sometimes it helps to take a moment to compose your thoughts before you speak with the player involved.

  3. When you have the player and captain called over, in a calm voice explain what you witnessed and state your intention to issue a yellow or red card.

  4. Ask the player their name, write it down with the proper spelling and confirm this with the captain.

    1. If you collected the required paperwork prior to the match, confirm the number and name after the match instead.

  5. Continue the game, but if this incident is considered a flashpoint and could lead to more problems, we recommend that you call both captains over and speak with them. We do not recommend giving an ultimatum as you don’t want to “paint yourself into a corner” (i.e. If you do this, I will be forced to do this [give a card]). Instead let them know sternly that you will not tolerate any further foul play.

    1. If you do “paint yourself into a corner” and do not follow through with your statement (i.e. give a penalty/card) you risk losing credibility.

After the game

  1. Confirm the carded player’s information with the coach or manager. You should already have a copy of their roster…

  2. Report the incident on your Match Report AND also complete a Disciplinary Report within 48 hours of the game. The 48 hour window is important because the match and the incident details will be fresh in your mind.

  3. If you noticed someone filming during the match, request a copy of the video and share with the Disciplinary Committee.

    1. While film is the best to review, if there were other players, coaches, fans or spectators that witnessed the event, they can also submit a Disciplinary Report.


When a player is sent off the field for the following reasons, the sanctions shall be in the range set forth below. These penalties are inclusive of the 8 day (or one match) automatic suspension.

[a] Non Violent Technical Infringements  (holding, obstructions, game delay):
1. First Offense;  8 days – 2 weeks
2. Second Offense (within one year);  3 – 4 weeks
3. Third Offense (within one year);  two months

[b] Minor Physical Offenses (pushing, barging, over-the-top calls, early or late tackles):
1. First Offense;  2 – 3 weeks
2. Second Offense (within one year);  4 – 6 weeks
3. Third Offense (within one year);  3 months

[c] Major Physical Offenses (kicking, punching, dangerous rucking):
1. First Offense;  2 – 6 weeks
2. Repeat Offense (within one year);  4 – 10 weeks
3. If these offences  were directed to the head or groin:
4. First Offense;  3 – 12 weeks
5. Repeat Offense (within one year);  6 – 12 months

[d] If this type of offense is directed at a player who is in a defenseless position, or situation, and/or in the referee’s opinion was  delivered with  intent to injure, the suspensions shall be increased as follows:
1. First Offense;  increase by additional 6 – 8 weeks
2. Repeat Offense (within one year);  increase by an additional 3 -6 months


The suspensions noted above shall be interpreted as implying one week equals one regularly scheduled match, whichever is the longer suspension. Clubs accused and found guilty of scheduling additional fixtures to circumvent these regulations will be subject to additional penalties. For repeat offenses, the time calculation shall be the elapsed time since the last infringement. An individual shall be subject to the penalties for “second,” “third” or “repeat” offenses only if there has been a prior suspension or disciplinary penalty imposed.


Due to the seriousness of these offenses these sanctions shall be strictly adhered:

[a] Persistent criticism/disputing of calls:
1. First Offense;  1 – 3 games
2. Second Offense (within one year); 4 – 6 games
3. Third Offense (within one year); formal hearing.  This requirement shall be filled by a meeting of the Executive Committee of the TRU or a committee so constituted for this purpose as defined in the by-Laws of the Texas Rugby Union.

[b] Verbal abuse and/or threatening a Referee or Touch Judge:
1. First Offense;  3 – 5 games
2. Second Offense (within one year); 6 – 10 games
3. Third Offense (within one year); formal hearing. This requirement shall be filled by a meeting of the Executive Committee of the TRU or a committee so constituted for this purpose as defined in the by-Laws of the Texas Rugby Union.

[c] Continuation of [a] or [b] above, and/or nonviolent contact with a Referee or Touch Judge after a sending off, or at the end of the match:
1. First Offense;  6 months
2. Second Offense (within one year); one or more years

[d] Physical or Attempted Physical Assault of a Referee or Touch Judge on or off the field:

1. Player is suspended immediately
2. A formal hearing must be held within two weeks of the incident. The hearing must include a representative from the Disciplinary Committee of the Western RFU.  If the incident occurs at a USA Rugby event, then a representative of the accused partys home LAU Disciplinary Committee must be included in the hearing.
3. Unless overwhelming evidence is presented that would mitigate the situation a minimum suspension of five years will be assessed on the guilty party.


When foul play occurs but is undetected by the Referee, Assistant Referee or Touch Judges it is the responsibility of the witness(es) to report it to the referee as soon as practical after the match.  If it is not practical to report the incident to the referee the incident should be reported in writing to the Discipline Committee as soon as practical after the match. Likewise, off field behavior that is detrimental to the image of the game of rugby should be reported to the Discipline Committee in the same timely manner.

Off field incidents will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Proven allegations of misconduct that tends to place the game in disrepute are expected to be dealt with in the strongest manner. As a reminder, clubs are responsible for the activities of their members and supporters as they relate to the image of the game. Clubs are expected to provide for the discipline of their members and supporters who bring the game into disrepute.

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