The EPCR Tournaments are played in accordance with World Rugby’s Laws of the Game of Rugby Union (as amended from time to time), as varied or supplemented by EPCR.
LAWS OF THE GAME
KEY AREAS OF THE EPCR DISCIPLINARY PROCESS
(I) RED CARDS
a) The case of any player sent off in Heineken Champions Cup or Challenge Cup games shall be adjudicated by an independent Disciplinary Committee 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 all televised 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 EPCR 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 Judicial Officer is 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 citing complaint is upheld, the independent Disciplinary Committee will be required to consider the appropriate sanction. Under World Rugby’s sanctioning regime, which EPCR is obliged to follow, the Committee will first assess the seriousness of the player’s actions and determine which of the three stipulated entry points (lower end, mid range and top end) is the most appropriate.
d) The Disciplinary Committee will determine the appropriate entry point based on their 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 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 closed season), periods when a player is injured or otherwise not to fit to play, and when a player is not available or not expected to play. Suspensions should also taken 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 of the Disciplinary Committee. Appeals must be lodged within three (3) working days of receiving the full written decision of the Committee.
h) The full written decision of the Disciplinary Committee will be available on epcrugby.com when the disciplinary process is complete
i) For World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, found at Appendix 1 to World Rugby Regulation 17, visit www.worldrugby.org
(IV) CITING COMMISSIONER WARNINGS
a) EPCR-appointed Citing Commissioners are entitled to issue a Warning to any player who has, in his/her opinion, committed an act(s) of Foul Play that (in the words of World Rugby) “falls just short” of warranting that the player be shown a red card (where such act(s) did not result in a yellow card or a red card). A Citing Commissioner is not limited in the number of Warnings he/she may issue to a player in respect of a match.
b) The Citing Commissioner will have 50 hours from the start of the match to issue a Warning. In certain circumstances this deadline can be extended.
c) If a player considers that a Citing Commissioner Warning was wrongly issued to him, he can give written notice to that effect within 48 hours of the receipt of the Warning.
d) Players who accumulate three or more Citing Commissioner Warnings or who are issued with three yellow cards for Foul Play offences, or a combination of both, will be required to attend a Disciplinary Hearing.
e) World Rugby introduced Citing Commissioner Warnings in 2014 as a mandatory provision where Citing Commissioners are present at matches.