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Match official abuse (Update January 2024)

Match official abuse (Update January 2024)

Mark McNamara9 Nov 2023 - 14:27
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See the important message below regarding an increase in match official abuse and the impact on clubs and individuals found guilty of this offence.

As you may have seen recently seen in the press that 20% of disciplinary cases in rugby are related to match official abuse (MOA) with 49% of officials reporting having been abused in the last season.
The RFU has therefore decided that all proven cases of MOA will receive an additional number of weeks/matches suspension.
2 additional weeks/matches for low entry, 3 additional weeks/matches for mid range and 4 additional weeks/matches for top end.
For details on what constitutes MOA abuse and sanctions please follow this link: Warning: link contains written strong language.

Please see the message below for Kent RFU regarding incidents of match official abuse.

Despite a clear and strong warning that the KCRFU and KSRFUR will not tolerate Match Official Abuse (MOA), we are already this season seeing cases of this serious offence being brought before the Discipline Panels (Adult and Age Grade). Alarmingly, the majority of MOA incidents are arising from the touchline, particularly on Sunday mornings at Youth and Minis events. The 2022-23 season highlighted the impact of what now seems to be a pervasive yet unwanted feature of our game, which last season resulted in 7 referees no longer wanting to officiate, after having been subjected to criticism and abuse. This is completely unacceptable and needs to stop NOW.
Clubs are instructed immediately and without fail to bring this matter to the attention of all officials, coaches, players, volunteers and spectators (be they parents / guardians or others) and to warn them as to the good behaviour and respect for officials that is expected.
The Discipline Panels (Adult and Age Grade) will, for proven cases of MoA seek to impose on clubs (regardless of the individual perpetrator(s)) the severest sanction(s). Such sanctions may not necessarily be restricted to clubs’ Youth and Minis sections. Discipline is treated by the CB as a ‘whole club’ issue, with sanctions including but not limited to financial penalties, the docking of 1st XV points, expulsion from competitions, and suspension of coaches.
Nigel Fray
Hon. Secretary & Director of Governance

As you will gather from Nigel Fray's message Kent RFU are quite rightly taking this issue very seriously. As well as possible sanctions against the club any individuals found guilty of match official abuse should also expect to receive lengthy bans from playing, examples of which are as follows:

Disrespect the authority of a match official 2 to 52 weeks/matches
Match official verbal abuse 6 to 52 weeks/matches
Physical contact with match official 6 to 52 weeks/matches
Threatening words or actions towards a match official 12 to 260 weeks/matches
Physical abuse of a match official 24 weeks/matches to life

Spectators can and will also be dealt with and can expect to receive touchline bans, etc.

Please note that touch judges are also match officials (including substitute players , coaches, supporters, etc). Please also be aware that should any match official abuse take place after the game is finished (in the bar, online, etc.) it will still be dealt with in the same manner.

The club also has to pay £125 costs per hearing and the club will ask guilty individuals to reimburse the club.

You may not always agree with every decision that they make but at the end of the day the referee probably has the hardest job on the pitch? They give their time and come out in all weather to facilitate the playing of rugby matches (remember, no referee no game!).
So please treat all referees and officials with respect at all times.

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