This section provides a general overview of difficult scenarios that referees may encounter that could call for disciplinary measures, including Red Cards.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact the society Disciplinary Secretary, John Orr, via email


Key Resources

Follow the links below for further guidance and forms for specific scenarios:

Discipline Contacts

For Level 5 games and Premiership Ladies 1st & 2nd XV:

North Region:

South East Region:

South West Region:

West Region:


Discipline: Policy & Process Documents

The following documents provide an overview of the societies disciplinary processes and policies:

On-Field Discipline - General Guidance

If you have any discipline issues on the field then these could occur at three different levels of severity.

1 - Deal with it yourself
Your actions are enough and players/club are aware of the issue and have reacted to your comments. You are happy to leave it as job done/club dealing effectively with problem. 

2 - You feel the issues are sufficient to escalate, but not to the level of a red card
You find repeated problems on field, players not responding (e.g. a number of yellows to same team, ongoing lack of respect for your decisions, unhelpful captain, club admin problems, etc.). In these cases email your area discipline secretary with details . The club’s secretary will be contacted and requested to remedy matters to avoid similar problems in the future. Please give sufficient detail. If your report is one of several relating to a particular club then the relevant county discipline officer will be informed. 

3 - You judge the need for a Red Card.
Hopefully you will meet very few situations where a red card is needed. Often these will follow a specific warning of a player or a general warning via the captain. However do not shy away from using a red card without prior warning. Examples of such offences would be situations where the player has time to think about his actions - punch to the back of the head, joining a melee and targeting a player with a punch to the head, kicking a player on the ground, stamping a player on the ground, stiff arm tackle on a player running at pace, dangerous contact with the eyes. In each situation it is your judgment when a red card should be issued. The Society will fully support you.

When sending off a player always remain calm. Do not enter into a discussion on the field. Issue the red card in the presence of the offender’s captain. Take sufficient time to make notes about the incident, including key players’ numbers/names as well as the time and score. Do look at the sending off form at the start of the season so you have some idea what will be needed should you need to use one.

Players sent off should remain in the marked out technical area (if there is one) or go to the clubhouse. Decide with the captain where the player is to go; most go to the clubhouse. Players should only remain pitch-side if there is a marked out and effective technical area. It is the offending player’s captain who remains responsible for the subsequent behaviour of the player. It is never appropriate for the sent off player to be in amongst a vociferous crowd or in any position where he can offer opinions about the game or your refereeing.

Do not get into discussions about your decision on or off the field. Once you have issued a red card you must continue the process and submit the report form. Do not be persuaded otherwise by the club. It is up to the CB discipline panel to decide on the sanction; you just report the facts as you saw them. Do not suggest a sanction or try to do the panel’s job for them.

If you have to abandon a match on disciplinary grounds, you have in fact dismissed both sides and will need to submit a report form. Do try to avoid getting into this situation!

Complete the on-line form and send to your area discipline team within 24 hours. If there are any issues they will get back to you for clarification. If you cannot get a form done in 24 hours please phone your discipline secretary to forewarn them. Your area discipline secretary will forward the form to the relevant Constituent Body/County RFU.

Some sendings off result in a discipline hearing, to which you are invited if the offending player requests it. The Society would hope that you can make yourself available for such a hearing. If that is not possible then contact by phone or Skype during the meeting may help. However on the whole they do not ask for your attendance. To monitor Middlesex RFU meetings the LSRFUR are invited to attend. Other counties have various processes. It would be rare for a referee to be asked to attend a meeting involving an away player from a distant club.

Are Two Yellows A Red?

The answer is yes and a red card report should be submitted in the usual way. However do note that if, having issued a second yellow, you are then subject to any form of abuse from the player as he/she leaves the field, then you should issue a red card for that - it will be more serious than the repeated offences you are currently dismissing the player for. In any case go through the report writing process and include all the details of the yellow cards and the red. There is no need for a report on single yellows for level 5 and below. 


Thankfully the incidents of citing are rare but if you think there may have been actions of a player on the pitch which might result in citing then do prepare for that eventuality. Do not make any comment after the game about what you did or did not see. Make your own notes about any aspects of the game which might be relevant. You will probably have a good idea when it happened and you should note just the facts as you saw them. Do not refer to any video that might have shot of the game. Report the possibility of a citing to your area list discipline secretary.