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(Rugby Illinois Coaches/Parents Handbook, section 5)

Per the Rugby Illinois Code of Conduct, all persons of responsibility associated with any Rugby Illinois Club agree to the following:

  1. Ensure that the players are coached to play the game according to the Laws of the game and to actively discourage illegal and dangerous tactics and actions.

  2. Take remedial action with players who have a demonstrated history of punching, kicking, fighting or dangerous tackling.

  3. Positively represent any and all decisions of Rugby Illinois and its Disciplinary Committee to all club members and their friends/family members.


The Rugby Illinois Bylaws Article 4.12.1 states:

4.12.1 The Rugby Illinois Disciplinarian has responsibility for the establishment of disciplinary policies for all play within the organization, collection of information regarding incidents of inappropriate behavior by members or opponents of the organization’s members and the establishment, execution and follow-up on such incidents. The Disciplinarian sits on the Rugby Illinois Competition Committee.

Rugby Illinois Discipline Policy

Foul Play – Yellow Cards and Red Cards

The referee must inform the Rugby Illinois Disciplinary Chair via e-mail at discipline@rugbyillinois.org anytime a player receives a yellow card or red card for misconduct or foul play. For matches involving paid line judges issued by the Referee Society, all match officials must submit a report to the Disciplinarian within forty eight (48) hours / two (2) days of the conclusion of the match. Given the brevity of the season and frequency of matches, reports should be sent as soon as possible.

Should a match involve teams or sides from differing jurisdictions, an additional copy of the Report should be sent to the Disciplinarian of the respective union or governing body. The Rugby Illinois Disciplinarian shall review Reports received in these circumstances, and communicate the outcome of the discipline process to the parties involved when requested, or in all cases within 5 days of receipt of the report and additional information, evidence, testimony, etc. requested. If a request for additional input is not fulfilled within 24 hours (or a later deadline communicated with the request), the Disciplinarian may render a decision with only the available evidence, and appeals may not be filed based on late response.

If the accused or the accused’s club that is party to the card issuance or send-off does not file a report with the Disciplinarian of the LAU within forty eight (48) hours, then it will be treated as undisputed.

Coaches Code of Conduct

Should Rugby Illinois receive a report from a referee regarding the behavior of a Coach during or after a game then that report will be dealt with in the same way as a red card for a player, i.e. automatically suspended for eight days from active coaching of rugby players. The Disciplinarian may decide additional sanctions based on the severity of the infraction, only after first discussing the issue and any possible mitigating factors with the reporter(s) and the accused party. Input may also be sought by the disciplinarian from the opposing coach, if required.

Penalties/Sanctions

  1. The Rugby Illinois Bylaws state:

4.12.1 The Rugby Illinois Disciplinarian has responsibility for the establishment of disciplinary policies for all play within the organization, collection of information regarding incidents of inappropriate behavior by members or opponents of the organization’s members and the establishment, execution and follow-up on such incidents. The Disciplinarian sits on the Rugby Illinois Competition Committee.

4.14.1 The Competition Committee, hereinafter referred to as the CC, will consist of the Vice-President of Competition, High School Boys Division 1 Coordinator, High School Boys Division 2 Coordinator, High School Boys Division 3 Coordinator, High School Girls Division Coordinator, Middle School Coordinator, the Disciplinarian, and the Match Official Coordinator. The Rugby Illinois Vice-president of Competition will serve as Chair of this committee.

4.14.2. The CC will be responsible to make all decisions affecting member teams for the following season, including; 1) Accepting and evaluating petitions to compete for a berth in regional or national championship competitions; 2) Rugby Illinois Play-Off structure and seeding; 3) Division play organization; 4) Division play scheduling and 5) Disciplinary guidelines and sanctions.

Any player who receives a red card for any reason is automatically suspended for eight (8) days or one (1) match, whichever is greater. The Disciplinarian may decide additional sanctions based on the severity of the infraction. While the accumulation of more than one yellow card by an individual player will not automatically trigger a sanction or suspension, players receiving multiple yellow cards may be subject to sanctions pending review by the Disciplinarian.

The following infractions are examples of circumstances which may result in additional sanctions in the case of repeat offenses or for the more serious offenses (especially items 4-9):

  1. Repeated Non Violent Technical Infractions (holding, obstructing, game delay)
  2. Repeated Minor Physical Offense (pushing, barging, over-the-top calls, early/late tackles)
  3. Type 1 Major Physical Offense (kicking, punching, dangerous rucking)
  4. Type 2 Major Physical Offense (kicking or punching to the head or groin)
  5. Type 3 Major Physical Offense (player in defenseless position and/or with intent to injure)
  6. Persistent Criticism / Disputing of Calls with Referee
  7. Verbal Abuse and/or Threatening a Referee
  8. Nonviolent Contact with a Referee After a Send-Off or at End of Game
  9. Physical or Attempted Physical Assault of a Referee (on or off the field)

Tracking Infractions

It is the responsibility of Rugby Illinois to track all disciplinary reports and actions taken. These reports will be maintained by the Disciplinarian. It is the responsibility of the Disciplinarian to notify the coaches and referee that a player has been suspended when that player’s team has a scheduled game.

Any club who allows a suspended player to participate in matches while suspended will be subject to additional penalties by their LAU or Rugby Illinois or both Disciplinary Committees.

Disciplinary Adjudication, Appeals and Grievances

Rugby Illinois Bylaws Article 14, Grievances/Compliance states:

14.1. All grievances shall be submitted in writing to the relevant Executive Committee member for resolution within seven days of submission. Unresolved grievances shall be referred to the Rugby Illinois President (either by the Committee member or the originator of the grievance) and presented before the Executive Committee for resolution. In all cases, grievances shall receive adjudication from Rugby Illinois leadership within fourteen days of the original grievance submission. Further, issues of Rugby Illinois Member Club compliance with Rugby Illinois requirements shall be adjudicated by the Competition Committee.

The above provision applies to grievances in general. With regards to appealing disciplinary actions, please refer to the Rugby Illinois Discipline Policy for the appeals process. Please note that disciplinary appeals must be filed within 72 hours of notification of the sanction.