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Ref Discipline
The content of this page is primarily for the use of members of the Ulster Society of Rugby Football Referees (USRFR: The Society)
This area relates primarily to the support for society members as a depository of information and resources in relation to discipline matters.

At times players become a little too enthusiastic and ensuring discipline on and off the field is an area which is vital if we are to maintain the ethos of our sport.

The Society has actively followed IRFU directives on foul play introduced in 2016 and we have seen a dramatic rise in Red Card events.

Moreover there has been a rise in dissent and verbal abuse.

The reasons for this are varied, but regardless will still not be tolerated by Society management or its membership.  For the first time we advised the branch that we would not select a referee at a fixture for a named club until that club could ensure the branch they had a system to ensure individuals could be made amenable to the principles of respect we expect.

In January 2017 World Rugby announced details of an enhanced and modernised Regulation 17 framework following an extensive review of the sport’s disciplinary processes.
View here: www.worldrugby.org/news/206986

The protocol for reporting red cards is:

• Make sure that you record the necessary information for the Red Card report form

• Read the Guidance on report writing
• Contact Stephen Crooke (M 07802 628822) the same day to get advice, guidance and counsel, as well as ensuring the correct Law is quoted.  Additionally, he can talk through Branch Disciplinary Hearing procedures.
• The Red Card report must be with the branch by Monday 9am for a Saturday match.
• Do not discuss the details of a sending off with the team or other members of the club.
• Do not discuss a sending off on the USRFR FaceBook forum or any form of social media.
• If requested, attend the Branch Disciplinary Hearing, a senior society member will accompany you at this stage if required.  The meeting usually takes place on the next available Wednesday night.

Yellow card reports are made via E mail to the branch detailing Club, player name (as from team sheet), and type of offence ie Foul play (punch, strike, dangerous) OR Technical (other than foul play). E jill.mccullough@ulsterrugby.com

The Ulster Branch has decided that an existing Branch Regulation can be utilised by the Disciplinary Committee in cases of abuse of a match official. Regulation 18 1 (a) disciplinary cases, sending’s off, citing’s, misconduct or conduct detrimental to the best interests of the Union, the Branch or the Game, whether on or off the playing enclosure, arising from matches under the jurisdiction of, or approved by, the Branch or to be otherwise dealt with by the Branch.

In order that this regulation can be used effectively and the offender brought before the next available Disciplinary Hearing it is of course necessary that the referee supply the identity of the offender. It is appreciated that, particularly after the match, this can be difficult without putting yourself into a conflictual situation. If the referee is concerned that this could be the case, use the services of the team captain or a senior Club official to confirm the identity of the player.

IRFU Abuse Guidelines

Incidents after final whistle
Abuse Report form

The society has four representatives at the disciplinary committee of the Ulster Branch.

• John Coyle
• John King
• Brian McCargo
• Alan Ward

Society members may contact them via the Hon Sec.

IRFU directive REFSMART explains the focus that referees will place on removing dangerous play from the game and may be viewed here: www.irishrugby.ie/rugbysmart/refsmart.php

Discipline statistics for the 2017/18 season:

• 57 reports of red card offences, a fall of 22%
• 3 incidents, a fall from 7 of which are best classified as ‘off field’
• 14, a rise of 27% specific to age grade/schools rugby
• 7, a fall of 50%, for ‘double yellow’ type offences
• 11 reports of abuse, a fall of 35%, is still a trend which needs to be addressed at all levels of our sport
• Red cards for dangerous tackles were at 9, a fall of 22%