published on behalf of an independent Disciplinary Committee
Alex Lozowski suspended for four weeks
The Saracens centre, Alex Lozowski, has been suspended for four weeks following a new independent Disciplinary Hearing in London yesterday evening (Wednesday, 31 October) arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 1 match against Glasgow Warriors.
Lozowski was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Tim Lowry (Ireland), for a dangerous tackle on the Glasgow Warriors full back, Ruaridh Jackson, in the 33rd minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.13.
Law 9.13 Dangerous tackling
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.13 carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks.
The complaint was not upheld at an initial hearing, however, that decision was subsequently deemed to have been in error following an appeal be EPCR.
A newly-constituted independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Kathrine Mackie (Scotland), Chair, Jean-Noel Couraud (France) and Leon Lloyd (England), heard evidence and submissions from Lozowski, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, from Saracens’ legal representative, Sam Jones, and from the Saracens Director of Rugby, Mark McCall.
The Committee also heard evidence by phone from Ruaridh Jackson, as well as submissions from EPCR’s legal representative, Max Duthie, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
The Committee upheld the citing complaint in that the act of foul play had warranted a red card and found that the offence was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected six weeks as the appropriate entry point.
There were no aggravating factors and due to the player’s clear disciplinary record and some expression of remorse, the Committee decided to reduce the sanction by two weeks before imposing a four-week suspension.
The Committee was not satisfied that Lozowski would not have been considered for selection for Saracens’ Premiership Cup match against Leicester Tigers on 27 October, and as he had already served a two-week suspension for an unrelated offence, it was decided to back date the suspension to the day of the citing.
Lozowski is therefore free to play on Monday 12 November.
Michele Mancini Parri – red card dismissed
The Argos Rugby Petrarca prop, Michele Mancini Parri, has had the red card issued to him during his club’s Continental Shield, Round 2 match against Belgium Rugby Barbarians XV, dismissed following an independent Disciplinary Hearing yesterday evening (Wednesday, 31 October).
Mancini Parri was sent off by referee, Nika Amashukeli (Georgia), in the 56th minute of the match for allegedly striking an opponent with his forearm in contravention of Law 9.12.
An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Kathrine Mackie (Scotland), Chair, Jean-Noel Couraud (France) and Leon Lloyd (England), heard evidence and submissions by video conference from Mancini Parri, who did not accept the red card, from the Argos Rugby Petrarca Team Manager, Silvia Cameran, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
The Committee decided that the red card had been issued in error and should be overturned. Mancini Parri is therefore free to play.
(i) Red Cards
a) The case of any player sent off in Heineken Champions Cup, Challenge Cup and Continental Shield matches shall be adjudicated by an independent Disciplinary Committee or an independent Judicial Officer as soon as is practicable.
b) Until the hearing the player is ineligible to play in any tournament
(ii) Citing Commissioner
a) Citing Commissioners are appointed by EPCR for all Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup matches and shall be entitled to cite a player for any act or acts of Foul Play that in the Citing Commissioner’s opinion warranted a red card.
b) For such matches, clubs will not have the power to cite a player but may refer incidents to the Citing Commissioner within 26 hours of the start of the match.
c) The Citing Commissioner will have 50 hours from the start of the match to make a citing. In certain circumstances this deadline can be extended.
d) The tournament Disciplinary Officer may forward the submitted citing to a Citing Officer to determine whether there are sufficient grounds for the citing to progress.
e) The Disciplinary Officer will then bring a charge against the cited player.
(iii) Disciplinary Hearing
a) The independent Disciplinary Committee or independent Judicial Officer are chosen by the chairman of the independent Disciplinary Panel, Mike Hamlin.
b) EPCR’s Disciplinary Officer presents the case against the player.
c) If a decision is upheld, the Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer will be required to consider the appropriate sanction under World Rugby’s sanctioning regime, which EPCR is obliged to follow. The seriousness of the player’s actions will be first assessed in order to determine which of the three stipulated entry points (lower end, mid-range and top end) is the most appropriate.
d) The Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer will determine the appropriate entry point based on an assessment of a number of particular characteristics of the player’s actions, including whether or not they were intentional, whether or not they caused any injuries and whether or not they had any effect on the relevant match.
e) After deciding the entry point, the Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer will then consider whether the suspension should be increased from the entry point to take account of certain specified aggravating factors, such as a poor disciplinary record or the need for deterrence, and/or decreased from the entry point to take account of certain specified mitigating actions, such as a guilty plea, a good disciplinary record, the player’s conduct at the hearing and expressions of remorse.
f) A suspension is a blanket ban from playing rugby union anywhere in the world. Players are suspended on the basis that a one-week period of suspension would ordinarily result in a player missing one match. Suspensions take into account periods of inactivity (such as the close season), periods when a player is injured or otherwise not fit to play, and when a player is not available or not expected to play. Suspensions should also take into account any out-of-season matches which are not considered to be meaningful, or which are not close enough to the season to be a determining factor in a player’s future selection.
g) Both parties to the hearing (EPCR and the player) have the right to appeal decisions. Appeals must be lodged within three (3) working days of receiving the full written decision of the Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer.
h) The full written decision will be available on epcrugby.com/discipline/hearing-decisions when the disciplinary process is complete.
i) For World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, found at Appendix 1 to World Rugby Regulation 17, go to world.rugby