Citing Commissioner Training

This resource provides guidance for Citing Commissioners to discharge their responsibilities in a fair and balanced manner. It also provides clarity to other stakeholders of the game with regards to the role and parameters of the job.


With the advent of the professional game in 1996, the Citing Commissioner role became established as an extension of the Match Official team, specifically tasked with addressing serious incidents of foul play that may have occurred in a match but were not addressed sufficiently at the time. Details of the role are contained within the World Rugby Handbook, Regulation 17.

The underlying rationale for Regulation 17 is to maintain and promote fair play, protect the health and welfare of Players, ensure that acts of Foul Play are dealt with expeditiously and appropriately by independent means within the Game and that the image and reputation of the Game is not adversely affected.

In establishing the Citing Commissioner role, it was acknowledged that rugby union is a contact sport played by powerful athletes and the resulting physicality is part and parcel of the spectacle that the fans enjoy. Incidences of foul play however can and do occur.

It is the task of the Match Officials in charge of the game as it is played and the Citing Commissioner afterwards, to ensure that play that was deemed dangerous or misconduct under Law 9, is dealt with at the time or after the game.

The vast majority of these situations are addressed by the Referee and their assistants at the time by way of a warning, penalty or Yellow Card. Occasionally, conduct is of such severity that a Red Card is the outcome. These levels of offence are for the Citing Commissioner to address by way of a citing or Citing Commissioner Warning if, after careful consideration of all the available information, post-match, they believe the Red Card test has been met, i.e. the Referee would have sent the player from the field permanently if all the information available to the Citing Commissioner was available to the Referee during the match.