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A Disciplinary Case Study

Nick Dark  Thursday, October 04, 2001  18:53 GMT

The Law
10(4)a "A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, [the] shoulder, [the] head or [the] knee."

The Offence
During the Cup match on 15 September, 2001, Jason punched the No. 3 from Midsomer Norton

The Referee's Report
"Almost from the off the game was played with a fractious temperament with niggles from both sets of forwards. As early as the 1Oth minute I had to speak to both skippers, asking then to take control of their players. In the 21st minute I had occasion to sin-bin a Midsomer Norton player (No 3) far over-aggressive use of the boot against a player from Devizes lying in an offside position.

"In the 37th minute, following an attack by Devizes, in the Midsomer Norton 22, the ball had been forced into touch following an attacking scrum. As I blew for touch and turned to face infield I witnessed the No 5 from Devizes (Jason Giddings) punch the No 3 from Midsomer Norton at least three times to the face. Although no injury was caused to either player and the affray was broken up quickly by other players, I felt that, given the previous warnings that I had issued and the continuing bad temper of the game, that I had no option but to order Jason Giddings from the playing enclosure.

"The inference from the Devizes players following the incident was that the Midsomer Norton No 3 had deliberately struck a Devizes player off the ball and that Jason Giddings was merely reacting to protect a team mate. I emphasised to the Devizes skipper that I could only referee that which I saw and that I had only seen Jason Giddings striking the Midsomer Norton player.

"At the half time interval I spoke to both skippers and also to the Midsomer Norton No 3 - emphasising that he had been involved in 2 separate incidents and that he needed to ensure that he kept out of trouble for the remainder of the game.

"The second half continued with an overriding air of bad temper throughout and although I was not witness to any further foul play I felt that the potential for the game to spill over into a brawl was present at a11 times.

"I should add to this report that, following the end of the game, I had occasion to speak to a Dorset and Wilts Advisor (Tommy Sprangle), present at the game for assessing purposes. During post match discussions he confirmed that the Midsomer Norton No 3 had been involved in a series of foul play incidents off the ball and deliberately behind my back and that, in his view, this player was the biggest single cause of the ill feeling on the pitch. I took time to speak to the Midsomer Norton skipper after the game about this."

The Sanctions (as recommended by the RFU)
7 days (i.e. 1 week) to 84 days (i.e. 12 weeks)

The Voting
Of the votes cast in the Poll on the Club's website, about any likely ban, the percentages were as follows: -

No ban 0%
7 days 14%
14 days 7%
21 days 14%
1 month 14%
2 months 0%
3 months 0%
1 season 0%
Lifetime 50%

[The winner of the Club Poll may wish to make himself known and claim his prize - a round of Pub Golf with JJG! Meanwhile, read on ... ]

The Disciplinary Hearing

Player: Jason Giddings
Club: Devizes
Venue: Social & Cycling Club, Salisbury
Date: 3 October, 2001
Panel: David Dove, Chairman, John Wilding and in attendance as Secretary, Wendy Dove.

Attending: The player and, on his behalf, James Gaiger - Club Captain

To consider: The dismissal from the field of play by the referee of Mr. Jason Giddings of Devizes RFC in the match between Devizes RFC and Midsomer Norton RFC for punching contrary to Law 10.4(a)

The panel considered the written report of the referee, the oral evidence of James Gaiger and the written statement of Charles Lucas (Chairman of Devizes RFC)

Having taken into account the plea of guilty, having considered the evidence as to character given in respect of Mr. Jason Giddings by Mr. James Gaiger and taking into account that, during the past 5 years Mr. Jason Giddings has been found guilty by a disciplinary panel of punching, the Panel resolved that Mr. Jason Giddings be suspended from playing from 3 October, 2001, until 16 October, 2001, leaving him free to play from 17 October, 2001. This penalty is justified because Mr. Giddings pleaded guilty to the offence. The panel also took into account the fact that the game was ill-tempered partly due to the behaviour of the player who was punched.

Costs: The panel imposed an award of £20.00 towards the costs of the hearing, which was paid on the night.

Appeal: The right of and procedure on appeal is set out in paragraph 16 of the RFU Disciplinary Procedure.

You might also like to know that Law 6 A.6 says "All players must respect the authority of the referee. They must not dispute the referee's decisions. They must stop playing at once when the referee blows the whistle except at kick-off."

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