The Timisoara Saracens prop, Sione Halalilo, has successfully challenged the red decision against him following an independent Disciplinary Hearing yesterday (Wednesday 24 April) arising from his club’s Continental Shield play-off match against Enisei-STM at Avangard Stadium, Krasnoyarsk.
Halalilo was sent off by referee, Nika Amashukeli (Georgia), for strking an opponent with the arm in the 42nd minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.12.
Law 9.12 Punching or striking with the arm (including stiff-arm tackle)
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.12 carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks.
An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Daniel White (England), Chair, Sarah Smith (Scotland) and Declan Goodwin (Wales), heard evidence and submissions by video conference from Halalilo, who did not accept the red card decision, from the Timisoara Saracens Team Manager, Dana Uruci, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
Although the Committee found that Halalilo had committed a reckless act of foul play, it decided that his actions did not warrant a red card and the case was dismissed. Halalilo is therefore free to play and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.
(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) 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 www.epcrugby.com/european-professional-club-rugby/discipline-news/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