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BC Rugby Discipline Policy

Revised for September 2010
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Rugby Union is a sport that involves physical contact. Any sport involving physical contact has inherent dangers.  It is very important that players play the game in accordance with the Laws of the Game and be mindful of the safety of themselves and others.  It is the responsibility of those who coach or teach the game to ensure that players are prepared in a manner which ensures compliance with the Laws of the Game and in accordance with safe practices.

It is the duty of the referee to apply fairly all the Laws of the Game in every match except when an experimental law has been authorized by the IRB Council.  It is the duty of the Unions to ensure that the Game at every level is conducted in accordance with disciplined and sporting behaviour.  This principle cannot be upheld solely by the referee; its observance also rests on Unions, affiliated bodies and clubs.

1.  Mandate:

1.1  The Board of the British Columbia Rugby Union (BCRU) delegates the primary responsibility for discipline issues to the BCRU Discipline Committee (BCRU-DC) in accordance with Section 13.03 of the By-Laws of the BCRU.

2.  Powers of the BCRU-DC:

2.1  The powers of the BCRU-DC are as outlined in Part 13 - Discipline of the By-Laws of the BCRU.

2.2   Allegations of violations of the BCRU Code of Conduct and the BCRU Harassment Policy are within the jurisdiction of the BCRU-DC and may be heard by the committee.

Note:    Please refer to the BCRU Code of Conduct and the BCRU Harassment Policy.

 3.  Composition of the BCRU-DC:

3.1   The BCRU-DC shall be chaired by the BCRU Chairman of Discipline.

3.2  The BCRU-DC shall have as members the Chairs of the Discipline Committee of the following Sub Unions:  FVRU, VIRU, and VRU.

3.3   The President of the BCRRS (or their delegate) shall be a member of the BCRU-DC.

3.4  The BCRU Executive Director shall be a member of and act as the Secretary for the BCRU-DC.

3.5  Members of the BCRU-DC may designate alternative individuals to act in their stead if they are unable to attend meetings of the BCRU-DC.

4.  Conflict of Interest:

4.1  A member of the BCRU-DC is considered to be in a conflict of interest if the individual appearing at a hearing is a member of the BCRU-DC member's club.

4.2  The BCRU-DC member will not participate in resolving any case in which he/she has a conflict of interest.

Note: Please refer to the BCRU Conflict of Interest Guidelines.

5.  Delegation of Authority:

5.1  The BCRU-DC will deal directly with discipline in accordance with Section 13.01 of the By-Laws of the BCRU and specifically with discipline reports that arise from games played in 15 or 7 player competitions within the BCRU Premier Division, 1st Division, 2nd Division, 3rd Division, U-21/Collegiate Division and by Sub Union Representative Teams in BCRU sanctioned competitions.

5.2  The BCRU-DC may delegate to a Sub Union Discipline Committee (SU-DC) the power to deal with discipline cases arising from lower division games and competitions in its jurisdiction.

5.3  The BCRU-DC shall review all cases heard by a SU-DC and has the authority to amend any orders made by a SU-DC.

5.4  Subject to Article 23, the BCRU-DC delegates discipline matters arising from a Summer Seven Aside tournament to the discipline officer appointed for such tournament.

6.  Discipline Meetings:

6.1   This Discipline Policy sets out the procedures for dealing with the following Discipline matters:

(a)          When a Player is Ordered Off the playing enclosure;

(b)          When a Player is cited for an act or acts of Illegal and/or Foul Play;

(c)          When a Player has been Temporarily Suspended three times in accordance with Article 6.4; and

(d)          When an act or acts of Misconduct may have been committed by a Union, Player or Person.

6.2  For the purposes of this Policy, Illegal and/or Foul Play means a breach or breaches of Law 10 of the Laws of the Game and/or a breach or breaches of Law 3.11(c), Law 4.5(c) and Law 6.A.5.

6.3  A Player is Ordered Off when he is sent off the playing enclosure permanently by the referee and can take no further part in the Match in which he was Ordered Off.

6.4  A Player is Temporarily Suspended when he is cautioned in a Match by the referee and temporarily sent off the playing enclosure by the referee for a period of ten minutes playing time which is spent in the so-called sin bin.

6.5  A Player who is Temporarily Suspended three times within a 12 month period will be deemed to have been Ordered Off upon the conclusion of the game in which the third Temporary Suspension occurred.

6.6   An act of Misconduct means a breach of the BCRU Code of Conduct which occurs outside the Playing Enclosure.

7.   Initial Procedures Ordering Off:

Where a Player in a Match is Ordered Off the referee shall, within 48 hours of the completion of the Match, provide a written report of the incident to the BCRU Office.  If a Player is Ordered Off the playing enclosure as a result of the intervention of a touch judge, the touch judge shall also deliver a written report to the BCRU Office within 48 hours of the completion of the Match.

7.1  Form 1 (Appendix 2(a) of this Policy) may be used by the referee for the purposes of a report under this Article 7.

7.2  Form 2 (Appendix 2(b) of this Policy) may be used by a touch judge for the purpose of a report under this Article 7.

7.3  Reports prepared by referees and/or touch judges when a Player has been Ordered Off should contain the following information:

(a)  the date of the Match, the venue and the teams participating;

(b)  the name of the Player Ordered Off and his team;

(c)  the circumstances in which the Player was Ordered Off;

(d)  the reason for the Player being Ordered Off; and

(e)  any other information the referee (or touch judge where applicable) considers relevant.

7.4  The Player Ordered Off shall be supplied with a copy of the referee's report and, where applicable, the touch judge's as soon as reasonably practicable and advised:

(a)     of the date, place and time of the Discipline Committee hearing at which the Discipline proceedings will be heard;

(b)     that he will be required to attend in person or by telephone at the hearing;

(c)     that if he is unable to appear at the Discipline Committee as notified, he should advise the BCRU Office forthwith;

(d)     that he is entitled to adduce evidence and make submissions and be represented by his Union and/or a legal advisor; and

(e)     he is not eligible to play pending resolution of the case.

7.5  Where possible, notice to the Ordered Off Player under this Article shall be given in writing. It shall be sufficient compliance with this Article if a copy of the referee's report and where applicable, the touch judge's report and notice of the information required in Article 7.3 are sent by email to the member's club.  Where a Player is deemed to have been Ordered Off under Article 7.5, it shall be sufficient compliance with this Article if notice of the particulars of the three Temporary Suspensions are sent by email to the member's club.

8.  Citing:

8.1  Although the BCRU-DC does not want to receive vexatious or nuisance citings it will not condone acts contrary to the Laws of the Game that occur within the playing enclosure but may not have been detected by the game officials.

8.2  The BCRU-DC will accept a citing if it is submitted in writing to the office of the BCRU by a minimum of two individuals filing separate reports within 72 hours of a game.

8.3  The citing complaint shall contain the following information:

(a)     the date and place of the alleged Illegal and/or Foul Play;

(b)     the name of the Player in respect of whom the complaint is made and the team he was playing for at the time of the alleged Illegal and/or Foul Play;

(c)     the name of the opposing team; and

(d)     full details of the alleged Illegal and/or Foul Play or misconduct including brief details of the evidence relied upon.  Form 3 (Appendix 2(c) of this Policy) may be used for the purposes of making a citing complaint.

8.4  The Discipline Committee shall forthwith obtain such information and reports in relation to the act or acts of Illegal and/or Foul Play subject to the citing complaint that he considers appropriate. All persons requested to provide reports and/or information shall co-operate with such requests and provide the reports and/or information as the case may be. Copies of the information and reports obtained shall be forwarded by the  Discipline Committee to the Player and other parties that were provided with a copy of the citing complaint.  The Discipline Committee Chair shall, as he or she considers appropriate, be entitled to deal with procedural applications and matters prior to the hearing.

8.5  The BCRU-DC shall review the written reports of the citing at the next regular meeting of the committee.

8.6  Should the BCRU-DC determine that a citing is vexatious or a nuisance complaint the individuals filing the report shall be informed that the committee will take no further action in this matter.

8.7  Should the BCRU-DC determine that the citing is neither vexatious nor a nuisance complaint the individuals filing the reports and the person cited shall be informed that a hearing will be called to consider the matter.

8.8  The Player cited shall be supplied with a copy of the relevant reports and information, and video coverage of the incident, if available, by the Discipline Committee as soon as reasonably practicable and advised:                                

(a)     of the date, place and time of the Discipline Committee hearing at which the Discipline proceedings will be heard;

(b)     that he will be required to attend in person or by telephone at the hearing;

(c)     that if he is unable to appear at the Discipline Committee hearing as notified, he should advise the Discipline Committee forthwith;

(d)     that he is entitled to adduce evidence and make submissions and be represented by his Union and/or a legal advisor; and

(e)     as to his eligibility to play pending resolution of the case.

8.9  At any hearing of a citing complaint, the Discipline Committee may require the individual who filed the citing to attend in person or via telephone conference and/or video link in order to present evidence and/or explain the basis upon which the citing complaint has been made.

8.10  In the interests of time and minimizing inconvenience, a Player who has been cited, and whose Discipline hearing is pending, can be required by the Discipline Committee, prior to the hearing, to supply it with full particulars of the case that will be presented on his behalf at the hearing.

8.11  Where a Player is the subject of a citing complaint, his case should, wherever practicable, be adjudicated on within 10 days of the end of the game in which the alleged foul play that is the subject of the complaint occurred.

8.12  In circumstances where a Player(a) has not been cited within the time period specified in Article 8 as a result of either:

(a)     mistaken identity; or

(b)     the nature of the incident(s) concerned is such that further investigation is needed to identify the Player(s) alleged to have committed an act(s) of Illegal and/or Foul Play,

then a citing complaint may be validly made by the complainant Club notwithstanding the submission of the citing complaint after the expiry of the applicable time period specified herein.  However, any citing complaint submitted pursuant to this provision shall be lodged as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event within a period of fourteen days from the conclusion of the applicable citing period.

8.13  The BCRU-DC shall determine, based on the evidence presented at the hearing, the course of action to be followed in the matter which may include the imposition of sanctions in accordance with these policies.

9.  Reports:

9.1  Referees' reports that are the responsibility of the BCRU-DC should be filed with the BCRU office within 48 hours of a player being ejected from a game.

9.2  Reports for consideration by the BCRU-DC should be faxed, e-mailed or hand delivered to the BCRU office.

9.3  If a report for consideration by the BCRU-DC is sent to a Sub Union Chair, he/she shall fax, e-mail or hand deliver it to the BCRU office immediately so it can be circulated to the BCRU-DC.

9.4  All referees' reports of cases delegated to a SU-DC shall be forwarded by the Sub Union to the BCRU-DC for information purposes only.

10.  Determination of a Discipline Case:

10.1  Decisions of discipline committees are made on the balance of probabilities, not beyond a reasonable doubt.

10.2  Decisions of discipline committees are based on the examination of the facts.  Extraneous opinions about those who come before the BCRU-DC are not germane to the process.

10.3  The fact that a player may have been provoked into retaliation is no defense but may be considered when determining the penalty to be imposed.

10.4  The fact that a player has been provoked into foul play is no defense but may be considered when determining the penalty to be imposed.

10.5  The past record of a person appearing before the BCRU-DC may not be considered as to guilt but may be considered when determining the penalty to be imposed (see Article 14.11).

11.  Standard of Proof:

11.1  This Article relating to Standard of Proof has been prepared with Law 6.A.4 of the Laws of the Game in mind.  It is essential to preserve the integrity of this Law and the referee's position as sole judge of fact and law during the Match.  Any decision by a referee during a Match cannot be affected by a ruling of the Discipline Committee.  A distinction is drawn between the referee's decision on the field of play and reasons for the decision.  This means that when after a Match the Discipline Committee consider the further Discipline consequences of an incident, where the referee has already made a decision on the field in relation to that incident, the Discipline Committee may, nevertheless, enquire into the referee's reasons for that decision and the circumstances surrounding it.

11.2  In any case where the Discipline Committee considers an incident(s) of Illegal and/or Foul Play or alleged Illegal and/or Foul Play, it may decide to impose a sanction in accordance with the provisions of this policy, or in the case of an Ordering Off where the Discipline Committee is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the referee's reasons for his decision were wrong take no further action.

11.3  In the case of an Ordering Off, the function of the Discipline Committee is to consider the circumstances of the case and determine what further sanction, if any, should be imposed on the Player. The Player Ordered Off may seek to show that the referee's reasons for his decision were wrong and the Discipline Committee may, subject always to Article 11.1, review the referee's reasons for the Ordering Off decision and the circumstances surrounding it. In any such case, the Discipline Committee shall not make a finding contrary to the referee's decision unless it is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities that the referee's reasons for his decision were wrong.

11.4  In the case of a citing, the function of the Discipline Committee shall be to review the case and determine whether on the balance of probabilities the Player concerned committed the act or acts of Illegal and/or Foul Play that are the subject of the citing complaint, provided that:

(a)  In any case where the Discipline Committee is required to consider a citing complaint in respect of an incident where the referee has made a decision on the field of play in relation to that incident, the Discipline Committee may review the referee's reasons for the decision and the circumstances surrounding it. In any such case, the Discipline Committee shall not make a finding contrary to the referee's decision unless it is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the referee's reasons for his decision are wrong; and

(b)  In any case where the Discipline Committee is required to consider an incident of Illegal and/or Foul Play or alleged Illegal and/or Foul Play which has not been the subject of a determination on the field of play by the referee it shall not uphold the citing complaint unless it is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the Player concerned committed the acts or acts of Illegal and/or Foul Play that are subject to the citing complaint.

12.  Discipline Committee - Power to Regulate its Own Procedures:

 12.1  The procedure of the Discipline Committee shall be as the Discipline Committee shall determine in each case and the Discipline Committee shall be entitled to depart from the procedures set out in Article 13. However, subject to the power to regulate its own procedures and depart from the procedures set out in Article 13, it shall:

(a)  seek to conform generally with the procedures set out in Article 13;

(b)  ensure that a Player subject to Discipline proceedings has a reasonable opportunity to be heard and to present his case;

(c)  comply with the Standard of Proof provisions set out in Article 11; and

(d)  ensure that for citing complaints made by a member club, such club has a representative in attendance at the hearing, failing which the case will be dismissed.

12.2  In any case, the Chair of the Discipline Committee, or his delegate, may convene a pre-hearing conference for the purposes of giving directions for the hearing and clarification of the procedures. Such conference may include any Player Ordered Off or cited or any club and/or their representative, Match Officials, and any other person or body whose participation is considered desirable.

 

12.3 The Discipline Committee shall endeavour to ensure that Discipline proceedings are heard in the presence of the club or Player who is the subject of the proceedings, but nothing in this Policy, or otherwise, shall prevent a Discipline Committee hearing and determining Discipline proceedings in the absence of the club or Player concerned where the club or Player does not attend the hearing.  In such circumstances the Discipline Committee may take written representations made by or on behalf of the club or Player into account in making its decision.

 13.  Discipline Committee - General Procedures:

13.1  A Player who is required to attend a hearing by a Discipline Committee shall be entitled to be represented at the hearing by an official of his Union, his club or other affiliated organization, or by legal counsel.

13.2  The referee of the Match in which the player is Ordered Off may be required by the Discipline Committee to attend the hearing of the Discipline Committee whether in person or via telephone conference and/or video link. Nothing in this Article shall prevent the Discipline Committee hearing and determining Discipline proceedings in the absence of the referee and/or touch judge.

13.3  In respect of cases involving the Ordering Off of a Player, the Discipline Committee shall ensure that, prior to the hearing, the Player Ordered Off has been supplied with, and has had a sufficient opportunity to consider, the referee's report and where applicable the report of the touch judge, together with other evidence including (where available) video evidence. In respect of cases involving a citing complaint, the Discipline Committee shall ensure that prior to the hearing, the Player cited has been provided with and has had a sufficient opportunity to consider the information and reports of the incident.

13.4  The Discipline Committee, subject to Article 11.1, shall be entitled to receive such evidence and in such form as it thinks fit (including evidence in writing), notwithstanding the evidence may not be legally admissible and shall be entitled to attach such weight to that evidence as it/he sees fit.

13.5  Generally, the Discipline Committee shall apply the Best Evidence Rule. This means that first hand accounts from persons present at the hearing as to their observations of the incident in question should be preferred. Hearsay evidence may be accepted. However, caution will be exercised before hearsay evidence is accepted in preference to first hand evidence and generally less weight is likely to be given to hearsay evidence. Further, as a general rule, Discipline Committees should not permit the introduction of opinion evidence other than expert opinion evidence. Expert opinion evidence is only likely to be permitted when the evidence falls outside the every day knowledge of members of the Committee, for example, medical opinion.

13.6  In the event that the Discipline Committee accepts as of probative value video tape evidence it shall, if possible, be viewed without the sound or commentary associated with it being heard, save where the sound commentary includes the comments made by the referee through his microphone in relation to the specific incident in question.

13.7  The Discipline Committee shall be entitled to determine whether witnesses that give evidence are able to remain in the room in which the hearing is being heard after their evidence has been given.

13.8  The Discipline Committee may direct the attendance, in person or by telephone conference, at the meeting of any Player Ordered Off or cited, and any witness. Where such a direction is given by the Discipline Committee it shall be the responsibility of the club, the Player or Person or witness concerned to ensure that it is complied with, notwithstanding any arrangements that may need to be made and/or altered. In any case where a direction given by the Discipline Committee is not complied with, the Discipline Committee may refuse to allow the evidence of the club, Player or Person or witness to be given in any other form.

13.9  Where evidence is given before the Discipline Committee there shall be no direct questioning of any witness, save by Discipline Committee members save where the Discipline Committee agrees otherwise. Questions may, however, be put to a witness through the Chairman of the Discipline Committee at the Chairman's discretion.

13.10  The Discipline Committee shall be entitled to call on experts to provide specialist advice, including legal advice.

13.11  Unless it otherwise directs, the procedure of the Discipline Committee at a hearing will be as follows:

(a)     the Chairman will explain the procedure to be followed;

(b)     for cases involving Ordering Off, the referee's report and, where applicable, the touch judge's report will be read;

(c)     the Player will be asked to confirm if he admits that he has committed an act or acts of Illegal and/or Foul Play;

(d)     evidence from the Ordered Off Player, if he elects to give evidence, and from any witnesses to be called will be heard;

(e)     final submissions will be heard; and

(f)      a similar procedure subject to such modification as the Discipline Committee deems appropriate may be adopted at the discretion of the Discipline Committee with regard to cases involving citing however, the Player will be asked to confirm if he admits that he has committed an act or acts of Illegal and/or Foul Play.

13.12  For citing complaints, the club citing the Player must have a representative in attendance at the hearing to present the basis of the citing complaint and evidence in support.

 13.13 The Player subject to the proceedings may admit the offence at any time in which case the Discipline Committee should proceed immediately to hear submissions as to the sanction (if any) to be imposed.

13.14 The Discipline Committee deliberations on its decision shall take place in private. A decision of a Discipline Committee shall be valid if taken by at least a simple majority of the Members of the Discipline Committee. No Member of a Discipline Committee may abstain from any decision. Where a Discipline Committee has an even number of Members and the Members of such Discipline Committee are unable to come to a unanimous or majority decision, then the Chairman of the Discipline Committee shall have a casting vote.

13.15  Subject always to Article 11, the Discipline Committee shall, in the first instance, determine, its factual findings. Thereafter, as appropriate, it will reconvene and hear and consider evidence and submissions in relation to sanctions.

13.16  The Discipline Committee Chair shall, as he or she considers appropriate, be entitled to deal with any investigatory matters or procedural matters relating to a hearing.

13.17  The Discipline Committee shall have power to postpone or adjourn a hearing at which Discipline proceedings are to be heard.

14.  Sanctions:

14.1  When imposing sanctions, the Discipline Committee shall have regard to the IRB's recommended penalties for Illegal and/or Foul Play set out in Appendix 1, with the exception that, in most cases, the IRB period of days/weeks shall be converted to games.  This conversion reflects the variety of games played over a fixed time period in the various competitions of the BCRU and the nature of our year round season of league and tournament play.

14.2  A suspension of one game is deemed equivalent to a period of seven days in the IRB Recommended Sanctions, as that is the average number of days between games for most teams in most competitions in British Columbia.

14.3  A suspension from any union makes an individual player ineligible to play rugby in any other jurisdiction until such time as he/she has completed the penalty imposed by the first jurisdiction.

14.4  The Discipline Committee shall undertake an assessment of the seriousness of the Player's conduct, which constitutes the offending and categorize the offence as being at the lower end, mid range or top end of the scale of seriousness in order to identify the appropriate entry point for consideration of a particular incident(s) where such incident(s) is expressly covered in Appendix 1. Such assessment of the seriousness of the Player's conduct shall be determined by reference to the following features of offending:

(a)     The offending was intentional, that is, committed intentionally or deliberately;

(b)     The offending was reckless, that is the Player knew (or should have known) there was a risk of committing an act of Illegal and/or Foul Play;

(c)     The gravity of the Player's actions in relation to the offence:

(i)      Nature of actions, manner in which offence committed including part of body used i.e. fist, elbow, knee or boot;

(ii)     The existence of provocation and whether the Player acted in retaliation and/or self-defence;

(d)     The effect of the offending Player's actions on the victim (i.e. extent of injury, removal of Player from game);

(e)     The effect of offending Player's actions on the game;

(f)      The vulnerability of victim Player including part of victim's body involved/affected, position of Player, ability to defend himself;

(g)     The level of participation in the offending and level of premeditation;

(h)     Whether the conduct of the offending Player was completed or amounted to an attempt;

 (i)      Any other feature of the Player's conduct which constitutes the offending.

Based on the assessment of the offence(s) under consideration against the above features of offending, the Discipline Committee shall categorize the offence(s) as being at the lower end, mid range or top end of the scale of seriousness of offending and identify the applicable entry point where set out in Appendix 1. For offences categorized at the top end of the scale of seriousness of offending, the Discipline Committee is entitled to identify an entry point between the period shown as the top end of Appendix 1 and the maximum sanction.

14.5  Having identified the applicable entry point for consideration of a particular incident, Discipline Committees shall identify all relevant aggravating factors and determine what additional period of suspension, if any, above the applicable entry point for the offence should apply to the case in question. Aggravating factors include the following:

(a)     An absence or lack of remorse and/or contrition on the part of the offending Player;

(b)     The Player's status as an offender of the Laws of the Game;

(c)     The need for a deterrent to combat a pattern of offending;

(d)     Any other off field aggravating factor that the Discipline Committee considers relevant and appropriate.

14.6  Thereafter, the Discipline Committee shall identify all relevant mitigating factors and determine if there are grounds for reducing the period of suspension, if any. Mitigating factors include the following:

(a)     The presence and timing of an acknowledgement of culpability/guilt by the offending Player;

(b)     A good record and/or good character;

(c)     The age and experience of the Player;

(d)     The Player's conduct prior to and at the hearing;

(e)     Remorse for the Player's actions and the victim Player;

(f)      Any other off field mitigating factor that the Discipline Committee considers relevant and appropriate.

14.7  In cases involving offending that has been classified pursuant to Article 14.4 as lower end offending, where there are compelling on-field and/or off-field mitigating features and a complete absence of on-field and/or off-field aggravating features, the Discipline Committee may apply sanctions less than the lower end entry sanctions specified in Appendix 1 and in this respect only, the lower end sanctions set out in Appendix 1 are not minimum sanctions.

14.8  In cases of multiple offending, the Discipline Committee may impose sanctions to run either on a concurrent or a consecutive basis provided that the total sanction is in all the circumstances proportionate to the level of the overall offending.

14.9  In any case, where a player has, in addition to his/her current offense, been previously suspended by the BCRU-DC at any time within the previous 24 months, the BCRU-DC shall take into account the player's previous offense and suspension in imposing any penalty on that player.

14.10  Usually a second offense of a similar nature in a 24-month period shall result in an automatic doubling of the penalty for the second offense.

14.11  The Discipline Committee shall, upon request of a Player who has appeared at a Discipline Hearing, provide written reasons for its decisions which specify the reasoning for their findings, including the finding on culpability, how it has categorized the seriousness of the offence by reference to the standard described in Article 14.4, how it applied aggravating and mitigating factors and concluding with the sanction, if any, imposed. 

15.  Traveling and Off-Field Infractions:

15.1  Upon the receipt of a written complaint from a public carrier, hotel, or restaurant or any other similar business, institution or organization with respect to misconduct by BCRU members, the Discipline Committee may require the cited member's club to post a $1,000 bond subject to a full hearing into the matter.

15.2  The BCRU-DC will determine, based on the evidence presented, the appropriate course of action to follow as a result of an investigation into this matter.

16.  Misconduct:

16.1  Clubs are responsible and accountable for the conduct of their Players, officials and all Persons under their jurisdiction. Clubs, Players and Persons must conduct themselves in a disciplined and sporting manner and ensure that they do not commit an act or acts or Misconduct.

              For the purposes of this Article, Misconduct shall mean any conduct, behaviour or practices on or off the playing enclosure in connection with a game or tournament (excluding Foul Play during a Match) that is unsporting and/or unruly and/or ill-disciplined and/or that brings or has the potential to bring the sport of Rugby Union, or the BCRU into disrepute.

16.2  It is not possible to provide a definitive and exhaustive list of the types of conduct, behaviour, statements or practices that may amount to Misconduct under these Articles. By way of illustration, each of the following types of conduct is an example of Misconduct:

(a)     acts of violence or intimidation within the Venue in which the Match is being played including (without limitation) the tunnel, changing rooms and/or warm-up areas;

(b)     acting in an abusive, insulting, intimidating or offensive manner towards referees, touch judges or other officials or any person associated with the Club's participating in the Match or spectators;

(c)     acts or statements that are or conduct that is discriminatory by reason of religion, race, sex, colour or national or ethnic origin;

(d)     seeking or accepting any bribe or other benefit to fix a game or to achieve a contrived outcome to a game or to otherwise influence improperly the outcome of any dimension of aspect of any game;

(e)     entering into any wager, bet or form of financial speculation, directly or indirectly as to the result of any other dimension or aspect of any game in which the Person is directly or indirectly involved and/or connected with;

(f)      providing inaccurate and/or misleading information about previous Discipline record in any proceedings under this Article or other Discipline proceedings and/or misleading information concerning the Player's future playing intentions;

(g)     any other breach of the BCRU Code of Conduct;

(h)     comments and/or conduct in connection with current and/or anticipated Discipline proceedings and/or match officiating (or any aspect thereof), which may be prejudicial to and/or impact on current and/or anticipated Discipline proceedings and/or which are prejudicial to the interests of the game and/or any Person.

16.3  Where the Discipline Committee is made aware of an act of Misconduct, the Discipline Committee shall take such investigative steps as it deems appropriate to determine the particulars of the alleged incident including holding a hearing in respect of the incident in which case the provisions of this Policy relating to Citings shall apply, mutatis mutandis.

17.  Public Notice of Discipline Hearing Findings:

17.1  The BCRU office will circulate Discipline Committee minutes to BCRU-DC members.

17.2  The results of Sub Union Discipline hearings will be forwarded to the BCRU office for distribution to the BCRU-DC immediately after the completion of the hearing by the SU-DC.

17.3  The BCRU office is to maintain a data base with respect to all discipline cases reported to the BCRU-DC.

17.4  The record of all discipline cases shall remain in the data base for at least a 24 month period.

17.5  The BCRU will post all BCRU-DC and SU-DC Discipline Hearing results on the BCRU Website.

18.  Appeals:

18.1  An appeal of an order of the BCRU-DC shall be heard by a BCRU Appeal Committee.

18.2  An appeal of an order of a SU-DC shall be heard by that Sub Union's Executive Committee.

18.3  An appeal of an order of a Sub Union Executive Committee shall be heard by a BCRU Appeal Committee.

19.  Post-Hearing Procedures:

19.1  The decision of the Discipline Committee shall be advised to applicable parties, as soon as practicable after the conclusion of the hearing and shall be binding on notification to the Player or his representative, if any. Where it considers it appropriate, the Discipline Committee may deliver a short oral decision at the conclusion of the hearing.

19.2  Relevant parties heard by the Discipline Committee shall be entitled to a copy of any written decision of the Discipline Committee which shall, where practicable, be sent to them by the Host club within 48 hours after it is available.

19.3  In any case where a Player is adversely affected by a decision of the Discipline Committee, he shall be advised by the Discipline Committee of the circumstances in which he may appeal to the BCRU Appeal Committee. Such advice shall, ordinarily, be included in the Discipline Committee's written decision, if any, and advised at the conclusion of the hearing if an oral decision is given.

19.4  The hearing by the Discipline Committee (save for private deliberations) shall, ordinarily, be fully audio recorded. The record of the proceedings, and all papers associated with the proceedings, shall be held by the Discipline Committee which shall make the same available if required. Copies of the record shall be made available at reasonable cost only on appeal of the decision of the Discipline Committee.  An Appeal of a decision of the Discipline Committee shall be undertaken in accordance with the BC Appeal Rules.

20.  Playing While Under Suspension:

20.1  A Player Ordered Off may not take part or be selected for any further Match until his case has been dealt with by a Discipline Committee.

20.2  Without in any way limiting the effect of Article 19.1, a Player that is subject to an Ordering Off (or as may be applicable subject to a misconduct complaint) is not entitled to play in any International Match or Match forming part of an International Tournament or International Tour until his case has been finally resolved.

20.3  A suspended Person or Player who elects to appeal may not take part or be selected for any further Match until his case has been dealt with by an Appeal Committee.

20.4  The BCRU will not tolerate members playing while under suspension.

20.5  If a player is found to be playing while under suspension, the issue will be dealt with at the next regular meeting of the BCRU-DC.

20.6  The BCRU-DC will determine, based on the evidence presented, the best course of action to follow with respect to imposing additional penalties upon the player and his/her club.

21.  Definition of a Game for Purposes of Discipline:

21.1  A game is defined as a league, exhibition, representative game or a tournament at the same divisional level, or above, that in which the offense occurred.

21.2  An individual ejected from a 1st division game may not count a 2nd or 3rd division game as part of his/her suspension but may count an exhibition game, a representative fixture, a tournament or provincial or regional competition as part of the game count for his/her suspension in accordance with Article 21.4.

21.3  A suspended player may use a defaulted game as a part of the game count for his/her suspension if the player was not a member of the defaulting team and in accordance with Article 21.4.

21.4  An exhibition game, a representative game, a tournament, provincial or regional competition or a defaulted game may only be counted towards a suspension if the player or his/her club requests in writing to the Chair of the BCRU-DC to count these competitions as part of the suspension.

21.5  Generally, a Seven Aside tournament will be treated as being equivalent to one divisional game.

21.6  The Chair of the BCRU-DC has the sole discretion as to what constitutes a legitimate exhibition game or tournament.

22.  Seven Aside Tournaments:

22.1  Subject to the exceptions noted below, the provisions of this Policy shall apply mutatis mutandis to games played, and any incidents arising from, a Summer Seven Aside tournament.

22.2  The sponsors of each Summer Seven Aside tournament shall arrange for one or more discipline officers (a "Tournament Discipline Officer") to be appointed to deal with any discipline issues arising during the tournament.

22.3  No person shall be entitled to act as a Tournament Discipline Officer unless his or her appointment as such has been approved by the Discipline Committee.

22.4  A duly appointed Tournament Discipline Officer shall deal with discipline issues arising during the pertinent tournament and, when doing so, shall apply the provisions of this Policy.

22.5  A Tournament Discipline Officer will file within 48 hours of the tournament's completion a Tournament Discipline Report (in accordance with the Form attached as Schedule ___ to this Policy), which sets out the following:

(a)  A Discipline Hearing summary for each red card issued during the tournament, such summary to include:

(i)  Name of player receiving red card;

(ii)  Nature of the incident giving rise to the issuance of the red card;

(iii)  Resolution of the Tournament Discipline Officer regarding the sanction to be imposed; and

(iv)  Any additional observations of the Tournament Discipline Officer regarding the incident or hearing that should be considered by the Discipline Committee;

(b)  A summary of any issue arising during the tournament, whether within the playing enclosure or external thereto, which the Tournament Discipline Officer believes merits consideration by the Discipline Committee.

22.6  The BCRU-DC shall maintain a record of all red cards issued during the Summer Seven Aside tournament schedule.

22.7  The BCRU-DC shall review each Tournament Discipline Summary and determine what, if any, additional action is required.

22.8  The BCRU-DC shall have the power to compel players who receive multiple red cards during the Summer Seven Aside tournament season to attend a hearing before the Discipline Committee.  The provisions of this Policy shall apply to such hearing.

22.9  A player who receives a red card while participating in a Summer Seven Aside tournament shall not be eligible to play in any subsequent game until the player has appeared before the pertinent Tournament Discipline Officer or the BCRU-DC.

23.  Additional Provisions:

23.1  In all proceedings heard by the Discipline Committee, referees and/or touch judges may only give evidence of fact, not opinion.

23.2  The standard of proof on all questions to be determined by the Discipline Committee shall be the balance of probabilities.

23.3  Procedures or proceedings under this Article or any decision of a Discipline Committee shall not be quashed or held invalid by reason only of any defect, irregularity, omission or other technicality unless such defect, irregularity, omission or technicality raises a material doubt as to the reliability of the findings or decisions of a Discipline Committee results in a miscarriage of justice.

23.4  Hearings by the Discipline Committee shall be held in private.

23.5  Where Discipline proceedings, however arising, are taken against more than one Player as a result of incidents occurring in a Match, such proceedings may be heard by a Discipline Committee at the same time, provided there is no prejudice to any person against whom the Discipline proceedings are taken.

23.6  No member of the Discipline Committee should comment to the media on a decision of the Committee but the Chair may release a copy of that decision to the media if it is available; or if a full written decision is not available, release to the media a brief resume of that decision.

23.7  In respect of any matter not provided for in this Article the Discipline Committee shall take a decision according to general principles of natural justice and fairness.

23.8  The Discipline Committee, prior to a hearing or at any stage during a hearing, may amend the offence for which the Player or Person has been Ordered Off or cited unless, having regard to the circumstances of the case, such amendment cannot be made without causing injustice.

 

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