From arriving at the ground and in his first meeting with the players and coaches, the referee needs to demonstrate that he will be in control, not in an officious manner, but empathetically. Having created the correct impression pre match, there should be some goodwill towards him when the match starts.

The Match

We all know how important it is that good discipline is exercised by all during rugby matches and we hope that games will run smoothly. However, no matter how good the pre match interfaces were, it is inevitable that tensions will surface from time to time and the referee then has to take appropriate action. Sometimes that will be apparently ignoring an offence, which can upset the team that has been offended against, but the lack of action by the referee may be because the offence was considered trivial and did not materially affect play, or advantage was played. At the next stoppage the guilty player should be spoken to, loudly and clearly, so that all persons within earshot are aware that the “offence” has been seen and why no sanction was imposed. No transgression should be considered to be too trivial to take some action and the action needs to be commensurate not only with the actual offence, but also with the previous conduct of the player, of his team and the general temper of the game.

The formal sanctions are the yellow and red cards. On each occasion when these have to be issued, the referee should take however long it is necessary to make a note of the offender’s name and number, the nature of the offence, the manner of response of the carded player, the type and severity of any injury, the time of the incident and the score at that time. Upon reaching the changing room after the game, the referee needs to ensure that his notes are legible, complete and understandable. When talking to any person after the game, except his assistant referee, mentor and the appointed advisor, he should not discuss the sending off. He should only say that he will be submitting his report and the appropriate persons will be advised by the disciplinary secretary of the player’s county what the next stages will be.


There is no reporting of single yellow cards for levels 5 to 12 and beyond. ALL dismissals of players must be reported on the “Society red card report” form below. Because players are banned until authorised to play by the County Disciplinary Panel, which cannot be done until the circumstances of the dismissal have been considered, it is a requirement that the report form is received by the County Disciplinary Secretary within 48 hours.

To facilitate this, referees should follow the procedure below.

Contact the Society Disciplinary Officer by telephone as soon as is practicable.

Complete the Report form and email it to the Disciplinary Officer.

The referee and the Disciplinary Officer will agree the final version of the report.

The Disciplinary Officer will forward the report to the Berkshire RFU Disciplinary Secretary, or the secretary of the appropriate body if the player’s club is not Berkshire.

For schools and club youth players who have been sent off, the report will be completed as above.

The report will be forwarded to the Headmaster of the player’s school or to the player’s club secretary and to the County.

The Headmaster or youth player’s club secretary (via the club disciplinary panel) shall be responsible for taking disciplinary action against him.

Any sanction applied to the player must be reported to the County, however the County do not have any further involvement unless the school or club applies an inappropriate sanction.

All cases of abuse must also be reported, on the “Match Official Abuse Report” (MOA) form, following the Disciplinary Report procedure above.


If you need one of these forms, use these links below to download them and if you need further help, please contact the Disciplinary Officer.

Red Card Report Levels 5 Form Version 2 Oct 2018

Crib sheet for new laws[1]

2018-19 MOA LEVEL 5 and BELOW

2018-19 MOA Level 1-4


Please do not hesitate to contact the Disciplinary Officer should you require any assistance on disciplinary issues.


Chris Parker

Berkshire Society of Rugby Football Union Referees