The Cornwall Rugby Football Union Disciplinary Committee is extremely concerned regarding the number of cases of Match Official Abuse already reported to the Panel this season which is just 12 weeks old.
Abuse of Match Officials (including non-appointed/volunteer touch judges) on and off the field is totally unacceptable and shall not be tolerated.
As we are sure you are aware, there is a desperate shortage of match officials to cover all the matches played across Cornwall.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for the Referees’ Society to not only recruit new members but also to retain current members, and Abuse of Officials (from players and spectators) is given as one of the causes of this.
Referees and non appointed /volunteer touch judges freely give up their free time throughout the rugby season because of their love and support for the game and to ensure that rugby can be played at weekends for the enjoyment of players and spectators.
Naturally, we should all be encouraging and supporting our Match Officials at every opportunity, as without them there would be no rugby!
This support must come from players, coaches and spectators alike – you have a responsibility for the behaviour of all your members.
With this in mind, for all Proven cases involving Match Official Abuse arising from matches on or after 1st January 2022, the CRFU Disciplinary Panel will consider a minimum automatic aggravation of 1 week (1 match for Age Grade Under 18 & below) over and above the RFU Sanctions as below and appropriately severe sanctions against spectators and or clubs in respect of Match Official abuse by spectators or non playing members of clubs.
Clubs are reminded that they should ensure that abuse to match officials does not take place and should take all necessary steps to prevent this.
Where an incident of match official abuse by a spectator is reported the matter must immediately be reported to the CRFU Discipline Secretary and that all such cases will be heard by the CRFU Discipline Panel. Clubs will not receive agreement that they may deal with such matters internally. This will come into force for all incidents from Saturday 12th March 2022.
A player must not verbally abuse a Match Official. Verbal abuse includes, but is not limited to, abuse based on: religion, colour, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation.
Low-end: from 6 weeks/matches
Mid-range: from 12 weeks/matches
Top-end: from 18+ weeks/matches
Max: 52 weeks/matches
At the end of the current season the situation will be reviewed by the Committee again, when we will hopefully be able to look back on an improvement regarding this issue and hope that we will not need to take any further action..
Will all clubs and schools please ensure this message is circulated to all players and supporters at all levels.
Chair of Discipline
24th November 2021