Role Description

Citing Commissioners can be appointed to individual games or tournaments across all formats of the game. In individual games, tournaments or formats the specific rules can vary in some small ways (usually in regard to citing timeframes). This description is a generic one that covers the broad role of a Citing Commissioner. For game or tournament specific requirements please refer to the specific match information.

A Citing Commissioner is an independent official, appointed by the competition organiser, the union in which the match is taking place, or World Rugby. They are responsible for citing players who commit any act of foul play which warrants a Red Card sanction.

Citing Commissioners may cite players for an act(s) of foul play detected by the Match Officials (referee, assistant referee or TMO) and which may have been the subject of referee action. As a general rule, the Citing Commissioner should carefully consider the actions taken by the Match Officials and support the on-field decision and only consider taking action if it is ‘clear and obvious’, based on all the evidence available to the Citing Commissioner post-match, that the player actions justify a citing (red card equivalent) or Citing Commissioner Warning.

A Citing Commissioner may not cite a player for an act(s) of foul play when the player has been sent off except where the sending off is a consequence of two yellow cards. A player in that situation may also be cited for the act(s) of foul play which resulted in either or both yellow card(s).

Citing Commissioners may cite a player if they have been temporarily suspended (yellow card). Such citing may be made in respect of the incident(s) for which the player was temporarily suspended or otherwise.

Teams may bring alleged offences to the attention of the Citing Commissioner for review. This must be within the agreed time frames of the competition. The Citing Commissioner can request additional video footage from the broadcaster or the teams to assist with any investigation. They can also interview the victim and other witnesses and obtain medical reports and other evidence such as photographs of injuries.

A citing complaint by a Citing Commissioner must usually be sent in writing to the nominated officer of the Host Union or Tournament Organiser responsible for the match in which the incident occurred. The timeframes for this can vary between games and tournaments. Ordinarily it is within a minimum of 12 hours and no later than a maximum of 48 hours post-match. In exceptional circumstances, an extension of time can be granted on application to the Judicial Officer appointed to the match.

A player who is cited is usually called to a judicial hearing. Here they will answer to the citation and if appropriate, may argue why there should be no further sanction or that the citation be dismissed. The game/tournament/Union’s rules determine the hearing format. The Citing Commissioner may be called into this hearing to clarify the citation.

This resource does not cover judicial hearings. World Rugby also runs Judicial Officer training as part of the Training and Education portfolio.