You may issue a red card some time in your refereeing career; therefore you should always prepare yourself for the event. If you do send someone off you MUST always report it!

The sending off report must be completed and dispatched to the appropriate constituent body within 48 hours. A copy must also be sent to the Society Secretary and the disciplinary secretary. The forms can be obtained from the secretary or downloaded from the RFU website. Generate them electronically wherever possible.

The form should be filled out whilst the facts of the incident are fresh in your mind. If you are in any doubt then contact the disciplinary secretary who will help in completing the form.

If you are in any doubt as to where to send the form then please send it to the secretary asking for it to be forwarded on.

Take care in completing the front page of the report, in particular, the full name of the player which you must obtain from an official of the club after the game.

Separate forms must be generated for each player sent off.

The prime purpose of the report is to give the Disciplinary Panel a clear picture of the relevant facts leading up to, during and after the incident. Be clear in your own mind what happened and convey that clarity to the Panel. The report is read out to the Panel so avoid long and complex explanations.

It is not necessary to provide a lengthy description of the incident if the facts are straightforward. Avoid vagueness and be clear. For example, do not state ‘he struck an opponent several times’. You should state how many times, where the blows landed, how violent they were and whether they caused an injury. Mention whether ‘the victim’ required medical treatment and carried on playing or whether there was provocation.

Provide a fair and balanced account and not seek to secure a conviction in every case. It is not weakness to mention any mitigating circumstances or to admit that you may have not seen something prior to the incident which led up to it or on refection to consider that you acted too hastily in sending off the player.

Before you dispatch the report it is recommended that you read out to or send the report to the Disciplinary Secretary. Any possible ambiguity or omission can be identified and any questions anticipated. This precaution may avoid the necessity of the Disciplinary Panel to seek clarification from you.

If upon reflection you wish to add a supplementary note then ensure the secretary and disciplinary secretary also receive a copy. This letter will also be read out to the Panel.

Always attend any hearing, your attendance may affect the outcome. Attendance at a hearing is only required if the player disputes the report.

Never advise the Disciplinary Panel what it should do about the report. Never use such phrases as ‘I think the sending off was sufficient’.

Clarity and brevity are essential for a good report. Seek advice if you have any doubt about what to say or about the administrative process. If you are satisfied that you were right to send the player off, be content with that and do not concern yourself about the level of punishment imposed – you have done your job.

The Disciplinary Panel has powers to inquire into and inflict punishment where a player has been dismissed from the field of play by the referee or cited for foul play or has been reported for misconduct in the playing enclosure. This includes abuse of the referee returning from the pitch to the clubhouse after a match.

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