Disciplinary Procedures

We will have a special meeting to discuss the disciplinary by-law changes outlined below.  We will call in on November 7 at 8:30 PM. This will be a phone meeting for discussion followed by an online vote. Dial-in: (712) 770-5196 Access Code: 104179 – please mute your phone while you are not speaking so as to eliminate background noise. Online voting will open following the call and continue for 48 hours, closing on November 9 at 10 PM.  https://goo.gl/forms/Sa1HZ4HYOSO2X6MA2 This is a special meeting being called by the President in accordance with our by-law #5.03

Our current by-laws state “FRU will utilize USAR discipline guidelines unless USAR lacks a policy. In the event of a conflict between FRU disciplinary policies and USAR disciplinary policies, or if FRU bylaws or policies are silent then USAR disciplinary policies will govern“.– added to by-laws on June 29, 2014

We would like to revise our current by-laws to  be more consistent with USA Rugby and World Rugby Regulation 17, since our by-laws also state. “provided however, to the extent that the terms and conditions of these By-Laws are inconsistent with the terms and conditions of such Regulation 17, the terms and conditions of these By-Laws shall prevail.” 

Thus the two statements that we will defer to USAR if we have a conflict with our by-laws,  however if WR conflicts with ours, we will use our own makes a circular argument if USAR defers to WR 17. Our suggested revisions are outlined below.

We would like to keep the language bolded that is currently in our by-laws below, and strike out the language in italics. If would like to ADD or REVISE any language, that is in ALL CAPS AND BOLD below.

No later than fifteen (15) days after the Annual General Meeting, the President shall nominate the
chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee (“D/C Chair”), who is subject to confirmation by a simple
majority of the Executive Committee. (Pending the approval of any nominee, the incumbent D/C Chair
shall continue to serve.) It is preferred that the D/C Chair be a currently licensed attorney. 
No later than ten (10) (CHANGE TO FIFTEEN) days after her confirmation, the D/C Chair shall nominate a panel of at least five (5), but no more, ten (10) people to serve on the “D/C Panel,’ which is the group of individuals from
which the members of a particular “Disciplinary Committee” that will consider particular disciplinary
matters shall be drawn. Nominees to the D/C Panel are subject to confirmation by a simple majority of
the Executive Committee, which may confirm or reject any or all of the nominees. If member clubs are
playing matches at any point in time when there are not five (5) members of the D/C Panel, including
the D/C Chair, the President shall appoint a sufficient number of individuals to D/C Panel on a temporary
basis so that there are five (5) members of the D/C Panel, including the D/C Chair. As members of the
D/C Panel are nominated and confirmed by the Executive Committee, the nominated and confirmed
members shall replace the temporary members appointed by the President. Individuals appointed to
the D/C Panel on a temporary basis by the President may be nominated and confirmed as regular
members of the D/C Panel. There are no particular requirements for membership on the D/C Panel,
except (i) the panel members should be experienced rugby people willing to fulfill the duties of
membership on the D/C, (ii) in addition to the D/C Chair, one (1) of the other panel members should
(but need not) be a licensed attorney so that such person may act as the temporary chair of the D/C
when the D/C Chair is not available to serve as chair in accordance with these By-Laws. 

No person shall serve on the D/C with respect to any match in which such person participated as a
player, coach, or match official. No person shall serve on a D/C with respect to any incident that involved
her club or any other club in which she has held membership during the last SEVEN (7) years preceding the
incident in question.

(Clarification – this text will not be included in the by-laws. The D/C are the committee that hear appeals and citations. The parties involved will be notified and have the opporunity to take part in any hearing regarding their club)

A red card given to a player results in an automatic administrative suspension for one (1) scheduled
matches or eight (8) days after the match in which the red card is issued. For the purpose of this rule, a
scheduled match is any series of fixtures to be played by the player’s club (i) on a particular day and (ii)
which appear on the Secretary’s schedule of Union mixtures. For example, Club “X” is scheduled to field
three sides on a given Saturday. The three matches constitute a single “scheduled match,” not three (3)
separate scheduled matches. The fact that the Club may be playing these fixtures against different
opponent clubs makes no difference. If a player receives two (2) yellow cards for violence or foul play
(as opposed to the so-called “professional foul” or persistent violations of technical laws) in the same
competitive season (i.e., 7’s or 15’s), the player receives the same automatic administrative suspension
that she would have received if the second yellow card had been a red card (and the automatic
administrative suspension takes effect upon the end of the match in which the second yellow card is
given).

A one day 7s tournament will count as 1 match in regards to sanctioning, and a 2 day tournament will count as two matches.

With respect to the automatic administrative sanctions described in this paragraph, there is no appeal UNLESS THERE IS VIDEO EVIDENCE TO SHOW THERE IS A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY/CARD GIVEN TO WRONG PLAYER. 

The business of the D/C and any appeals therefrom to the  Committee shall be in compliance with USA Rugby Discipline Policy, which will be superceded by World Regulation 17 if there is a conflict.

 

The following is text in italics that we would like to remove from the by-laws since we will follow that set forth by USA Rugby & World Rugby Regulation 17.

Players, coaches, club officers, and other persons affiliated with a member club may be referred to as
the “Disciplinary Committee” (also knows as the “D/C”) for investigation and the imposition of sanctions
in accordance with these By-Laws; provided, however, sanctions, beyond the automatic administrative
sanction described in the immediately preceding paragraph, may not be imposed by the Disciplinary
Committee without a duly noticed hearing at which the accused player, coach, club officer, and other
persons affiliated with a member club (as the case may be, the “Accused”) is given (i) notice of the
charges and (ii) the opportunity to (a) examine witnesses and evidence offered to support the charges
and (b) present a defense.
All red card violations shall be reported to the D/C Chair and the President by the match referee. In
addition, member clubs have the right to cite any player, coach, club official or other person affiliated
with the member club to the D/C for foul play or misconduct, which citation shall be made by written
notice given to the D/C Chair and the President no later than forty-eight (48) hours after the conclusion
of the subject match or other incident in question. If a club elects to cite a player, coach, official or
other person affiliated with a member club, the club has the obligation to provide evidence that
supports the citation and this evidence or a description of the evidence must accompany the citation.
Additional evidence may be provided at the D/C hearing.
The D/C Chair has the obligations to review all red card reports and citations to determine whether
consideration of the matter by the D/C is warranted. The D/C Chair’s consideration of any such matter
is a matter is a matter of prosecutorial discretion and any determination by the D/C Chair not to proceed
with any matter may be overridden only by a simple majority of the Executive Committee (and the
consequence of such an action by the Executive Committee is that the D/C shall hear the matter).
All member clubs, their players, coaches, and officers have a duty to cooperate fully in any investigation
by the D/C and any failure to cooperate in accordance with these By-Laws may be sanctioned by the
Executive Committee.

Any D/C hearings shall be scheduled on no less than thirty-six (36) hours written prior notice given to
the Accused and her club; provided, however, in the event of a bona fide emergency that threatens the
safety of the membership of the Union, the integrity of the Union or the game of Rugby Union Football,
only such notice as is reasonable need be given. The notice of the hearing shall be issued by the D/C
Chair and shall (i) name the two designated members of the D/C Pane, who with the D/C Chair, shall
constitute the D/C for the particular matter, (ii) name the time and place of the hearing, and (iii) state
the charge made against the Accused. The D/C Chair may excuse herself from any matter and if the D/C
Chair excuses herself or is otherwise disqualified from participation in the D/C’s consideration of the
matter in accordance with these By-Laws, the D/C Chair shall designate another member of the D/C
Panel to act as the chair of the D/C for this particular matter. The designated temporary chair should
(but need not) be a licensed  attorney. The D/C hearing may be held in person, by telephone
or video conference or by any other means permitted by advances in technology as are adopted as a
standard business practice in the wider world, or in combination thereof.

At the D/C Hearing, (i) the D/C Chair shall read the charges against the Accused, (ii) the evidence offered
in support of the charges shall be presented and the Accused shall be given the opportunity to examine
the evidence and any witnesses called in support of the charges, (iii) the Accused shall be entitled to
present such evidence intended to establish innocence, mitigation, or the good the character of the
Accused as the Accused shall desire so long as the evidence offered is germane. The Accused may be
represented by counsel or other representative and the parties will be given the opportunity to present
concluding remarks. Immediately upon the conclusion of the hearing, the D/C shall deliberate and make
finding of innocence or guilt with respect to each charge and shall issue the appropriate sanction for any
finding of guilt. The deliberations of the D/C as to guilt or innocence and sanctions are not public. No
later than twenty-four (24) hours after the completion of the D/C hearing, the D/C Chair shall issue the
findings of guilt or innocence and any resulting sanction, notice of which shall be given to the Accused,
her club, the President and the Secretary. The findings and any sanctions are public and shall be placed
upon the Union’s website and retained in the records of the Union.
The sanctioned Accused has the right to appeal the decision of the D/C to the Executive Committee (and
no other party has any right to appeal any decision of the D/C), which appeal must be made by written
notice given to the President, the Secretary, and the D/C Chair no later than seventy-two (72) hours
after the decision by the D/C is issued. Any notice of appeal must state the basis for the Appeal. As a
matter of its discretion, as exercised by a simple majority of the members of the Executive Committee,
the Executive Committee may agree to hear the appeal. In any appeal that that it agrees to hear, the
Executive Committee may consider certain aspects of the decision of the D/C or may conduct a hearing
in de novo. In order to overturn the decision of the D/C (or any aspect of the decision of the D/C), twothirds
of the members of the Executive Committee must agree to over turn the decision.

The business of the D/C and any appeals therefrom to the Executive Committee shall be in compliance
with IRB Regulation 17, as promulgated from time-to-time; provided however, to the extent that the
terms and conditions of these By-Laws are inconsistent with the terms and conditions of such Regulation
17, the terms and conditions of these By-Laws shall prevail.

No person shall serve on the D/C with respect to any match in which such person participated as a
player, coach or match official. No person shall serve on a D/C with respect to any incident that involved
her club or any other club in which she had held membership during the last five (5) years preceding the
incident in question.No member of the Executive Committee shall participate in any appeal from a D/C decision with respect
to any match in which such member participated as a player, coach or match official, nor shall such
member participate in any appeal related to any incident that involved her club or any other club in
which she had held membership during the last five (5) years preceding the incident in question.

The following information will be kept on the FRU site on this page pending the changes in by-laws.

FRU Overview of Discipline

When a player receives a red card or two yellow cards in a match, the referee will submit a report by the Monday following the match. The parties involved are encouraged to send their version to the Discipline Chair within the same time frame as the referee to provide evidence for mitigation or their version of events, if applicable. The chair (or co-chair or committee, if needed) will rule on the matter usually within 3 days of the report due date, however, this time frame may be extended if additional information is needed for the ruling.  As is outlined above, a red card is an automatic one week suspension and thus these timelines should not impact player availability, as the ruling would occur prior to the next available match (usually 2 weeks from the red card unless notified otherwise). The rulings and all communications from the D/C  will be sent the President and Coach whose information is on file and published with the FRU on the contact page of the website. The ruling by the D/C will be conveyed by email and will include if Foul Play was found/admitted,  will state the seriousness of offense, the entry point for sanction, any aggravating factors, any mitigating factors, and any appeal rights. No communication will be provided if the red card (or two  yellow) suspension is for the minimum term of 1 week.

FRU discipline chart 1

The USA Rugby Regulations can be found at this link.

World Rugby Regulation 17 can be found at this link.

This is an overview of the discipline process and does not supercede that outlined by the by-laws and WR17. The following was written to simplify and summarize WR17 and the FRU proceedings and likely relevant timelines. However, Procedures or proceedings under Regulation 17 and/or Regulation 18 or any decision of a Disciplinary Committee, Judicial Officer, Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer 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 Disciplinary Committee, Judicial Officer, Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer or results in a miscarriage of justice. (17.28.2). This means if the referee is late to file a report or the information is not processed within certain timelines, this is not grounds for dismissal or appeal.  In the case of a citation (no red or yellow card is shown), a direct ruling by the DC prior to a hearing is not reason for a dismissal but is reason for an appeal to have a committee ruling and hearing. If an appeal is requested, it must be requested in writing to the Discipline Chair and must state the basis for the Appeal. Grounds for an appeal include cases of mistaken identity, video evidence which is contrary to that written in the report, and aggravating or mitigating factors that were not known during the sanctioning process. It is highly recommended that clubs send in their own report prior to sanctioning so that mitigating factors can be considered. Failure of a player/player representative to send a report which provides mitigating factors when a card is given is not grounds for an appeal. As a matter of its discretion, as exercised by a simple majority of the members of the D/C,  the D/C may agree to hear the appeal but they may also deny to hear an appeal. In any appeal that it agrees to hear, the  Committee may consider certain aspects of the decision of the D/C or may conduct a hearing in de novo. The Appeal Committee/Appeal Officer may affirm, cancel, alter, diminish, or increase any sanction imposed by the initial ruling, following the provisions of World Rugby Regulation 17. A hearing or appeal decision will be communicated as outlined above for a sanction but will include participants in the hearing process and how and if due process was given.

FRU discipline chart 2

If a hearing is required because of a citation or because of an appeal, the parties involved will receive at least 36 hours notice of the time of the hearing (normally Wednesdays at 8 PM).  They may request a copy of any reports or video prior to the hearing and have at least 24h to review. The hearing will utilize 3 members of the D/C committee not involved in the original ruling (in case of appeal) that also have no conflicts of interest in the process.  During the  hearing, the Chair and committee will ask all questions of parties involved, there will not be any cross examination.  Admission is considered a mitigation as outlined below.  The player involved, if a red card offense or citation of a player, should be on the call where possible. If a hearing is needed (in the case of a citation) it will likely be scheduled for the week following the report due date. So if the match is on a Saturday, the committee will likely hear the case the Wednesday of the next week, or approximately 11 days post-match.  These calls are normally held on Wednesday evenings but may be scheduled for a different time pending availability of the committee and the chair. During the hearing, the JO/Chair/committee members ask all of the questions.  No cross-examination is allowed by the parties involved. At the D/C Hearing,  the D/C Chair shall read the charges against the Accused,  the evidence offered in support of the charges shall be presented and the Accused shall be given the opportunity to examine the evidence and any witnesses called in support of the charges, the Accused shall be entitled to present such evidence intended to establish innocence, mitigation, or the good the character of the Accused as the Accused shall desire so long as the evidence offered is germane. The Accused may be represented by counsel or other representative and the parties will be given the opportunity to present concluding remarks. Immediately upon the conclusion of the hearing, the D/C shall deliberate and make finding of innocence or guilt with respect to each charge and shall issue the appropriate sanction for any finding of guilt. The deliberations of the D/C as to guilt or innocence are not public. Appeals on the findings of the committee can occur as outlined above.

Below is a BRIEF overview of information contained in WR 17 at the time of this publication (September 2018) that is relevant to interested parties. This information may be updated on World Rugby and the version on the World Rugby Site will prevail.

Assessment of seriousness of the Foul Play
17.19.2 Disciplinary Committees or Judicial Officers shall undertake an
assessment of the seriousness of the Player’s conduct that constitutes the
offending and categorise that conduct 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) of Foul
Play where such incident(s) is expressly covered in Appendix 1. The
assessment of the seriousness of the Player’s conduct shall be
determined by reference to the following features:
(a) whether the offending was intentional or deliberate;
(b) whether the offending was reckless, that is the Player knew
(or should have known) there was a risk of committing an act of
Foul Play;
(c) the gravity of the Player’s actions in relation to the offending;
(d) the nature of the actions, the manner in which the offence was
committed including part of body used (for example, fist, elbow, knee
or boot);
(e) the existence of provocation;
(f) whether the Player acted in retaliation and the timing of such;
(g) whether the Player acted in self-defence (that is whether he used a
reasonable degree of force in defending himself);
(h) the effect of the Player’s actions on the victim (for example, extent of
injury, removal of victim Player from the game);
(i) the effect of the Player’s actions on the Match;
(j) the vulnerability of the victim Player including part of victim’s body
involved/affected, position of the victim Player, ability to defend
himself;
(k) the level of participation in the offending and level of premeditation;
(l) whether the conduct of the offending Player was completed or
amounted to an attempt; and
(m) any other feature of the Player’s conduct in relation to or connected
with the offending.

Based on the assessment of the offence(s) under consideration against
the above features of offending, the Disciplinary Committee or Judicial
Officer shall categorise the act of Foul Play as being at the lower end, mid
range or top end of the scale of seriousness of offending and identify the
applicable entry point as set out in Appendix 1.

17.19.3 For offences categorised at the top end of the scale of seriousness of
offending, the Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer shall identify an
entry point between the period shown as the top end for the particular
office and the maximum sanction in Appendix 1.3

Aggravating Factors
17.19.4 Having identified the applicable entry point for consideration of a particular
incident, the Disciplinary Committees or Judicial Officers shall identify any
relevant off-field 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:
(a) the Player’s status generally as an offender of the Laws of the
Game;
(b) the need for a deterrent to combat a pattern of offending in the
Game; and
(c) any other off-field aggravating factor(s) that the Disciplinary
Committee or Judicial Officer considers relevant and appropriate.

Other aggravating factors not listed in WR that are considered by the FRU D/C and fall under item (c)  include repeated offense from a single club in the course of 2 seasons and the nature of the match being played (ex how many cards may have already been given during match).<\mark>

Mitigating Factors
17.19.5 Thereafter, the Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer shall identify any
relevant off-field mitigating factors and determine if there are grounds for
reducing the period of suspension and subject to Regulations 17.19.6 and
17.19.7 the extent, if at all, by which the period of suspension should be
reduced. Mitigating factors include the following:
(a) the presence and timing of an acknowledgement of
culpability/wrong-doing by the offending Player;
(b) the Player’s disciplinary record and/or good character;
(c) the youth and inexperience of the Player;
(d) the Player’s conduct prior to and at the hearing;
(e) the Player having demonstrated remorse for his conduct to the victim
Player including the timing of such remorse; and
(f) any other off-field mitigating factor(s) that the Disciplinary Committee
or Judicial Officer considers relevant and appropriate.

17.19.6 Subject to Regulations 17.19.7 and 17.19.8, for acts of Foul Play the
Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer cannot apply a greater reduction
than 50% of the relevant entry point suspension.
In assessing the
percentage reduction applicable for mitigating factors, the Disciplinary
Committee or Judicial Officer shall start at 0% reduction and apply the
amount, if any, to be allowed as mitigation up to the maximum 50%
reduction.

Regulation17_1 33
Regulation17_1 34
Regulation17_1 35