The changes follow a cross-country Working Group meeting with representatives across all areas of the game held in September last year, which conducted a ‘clean sheet’ review of the SANZAR judicial process.
The objectives of the review were to provide a system that is fair, consistent and simple with fewer full hearings and consequently reduced costs.
“SANZAR has long held the view that the disciplinary process could be enhanced to provide for a more consistent and simplified outcome,” said Peters.
“We believe that these changes are an important step in the right direction”.
1. On-field Referee Referral to Citing Commissioner
- Instances where a referee thinks an act of foul play has occurred but is not sure if a red card is warranted, or is unsure of the identity of a player
- Where a player makes a complaint to a referee who did not see an incident
- Can be in addition to a yellow card or penalty
- Referred to the Citing Commissioner for review
2. Citing Commissioner issues an “Off-Field Yellow Card”
- Instances where a Citing Commissioner observes a serious act of foul play that is close to but not quite a red card
- The Off-field yellow card is logged on the player’s disciplinary record in the same manner as an On-Field yellow card
3. Duty Judicial Officer
- Performs an initial assessment of citings, red cards or three yellow cards
- Duty Judicial Officer may hold a brief teleconference with the player and/or his representative
- Determines whether or not to offer the player a preliminary indication of penalty
- May refer to a full judicial hearing
- The player must accept he committed an act of foul play to be offered an indication of penalty
- If player does not accept the indication of penalty the matter will be referred to full hearing
4. Judicial Hearings
- Where a full judicial hearing is required it will be held by videoconference or teleconference with ‘in-person’ hearings only taking place in exceptional circumstances
- Other processes for the hearing will be the same as previously
- SANZAR has a right of appeal the outcome of a judicial hearing on the following grounds:
- Where there is substantial unfairness, or the penalty imposed on a player is clearly excessive or inadequate
- Where there has been a fundamental error by the Judicial Officer in reaching his decision
- Normal rights of Appeal apply for players
The SANZAR trial has been approved by the International Rugby Board (IRB) and will form an important part of the IRB’s own full review of Regulation 17 that governs the disciplinary process internationally.
The new system will come into operation when the Super Rugby tournament kicks off on February 24.