16 Match Officials
One Referee, Two Touch Judges 1. In all matches a Referee and two Touch Judges shall be appointed or mutually agreed upon by the contesting teams.
Enforce Laws 2. The Referees shall enforce the Laws of the Game and may impose penalties for any deliberate breach of the Laws. He shall be the sole judge on matters of fact except those relating to touch and touch in-goal (see para. 11 below).
Timekeeper 3. He shall be the sole timekeeper except where this duty has been delegated to another person. (See Section 7).
Power to stop 4. He may, at his discretion, temporarily suspend or game prematurely terminate a match because of adverse weather, undue interference by spectators, misbehaviour by players, or any other cause which, in his opinion, interferes with his control of the game.
Permission to enter playing area 5. He shall not allow anyone apart from the players onto the playing area without permission.
Power to dismiss 6. In the event of misconduct by a player, the Referee shall, at his discretion, caution, temporarily suspend for ten minutes, or dismiss the offender.
Control of players 7. The players are under the control of the Referee from the time they enter the playing area until they leave it.
When to blow whistle 8.1 The Referee must carry a whistle which he shall blow to commence and terminate each half of the game.
Except for these occasions the blowing of the whistle shall temporarily stop the play. The Referee shall blow the whistle:
(a) when a try or a goal has been scored
(b) when the ball has gone out of play
(c) when restarting play, other than at a scrum
(d) when he detects a breach of the Laws of the Game, except when to stop the play would be to the disadvantage of the non-offending team
(e) when play is irregularly affected by the ball or the player carrying the ball coming into contact with the Referee, a Touch Judge, or with any person not taking part in the match or with any object which should not normally be on the playing field
(f) when any irregularity, not provided for in these Laws, occurs and one team unjustifiably gains an advantage
(g) when a stoppage is necessary in order to enforce the Laws or for any other reason.
8.2 Where a referee has stopped play to administer a caution to a player or players he shall indicate extra time until he blows his whistle to restart play.
Changing decision 9. The Referee judges on matters of fact and shall not subsequently alter those judgments. He may cancel any decision made if prior foul play of which he had no knowledge is reported to him by a Touch Judge.
Accept Touch Judge decision 10. The Referee shall accept the decision of an official Touch Judge relating to touch and touch in-goal play and to kicks at goal.
Touch Judge 11. Each Touch Judge shall remain in touch, one on each
side of, and near to, the playing field except:–
(a) when judging kicks at goal (see Section 6) and
(b) when reporting a player’s misconduct which has escaped the notice of the Referee.
Flag 12. Each Touch Judge must carry an approved flag.
Indicating Touch 13. A Touch Judge shall indicate when and where the ball goes into touch by raising his flag and standing opposite the point of entry into touch except in the case of ‘ball back’ (see Section 9 para. 4) when the Touch Judge must indicate that no ground has been gained by waving his flag above his head accentuating the movement in the direction of the kicker’s goal-line.
Indicating Touch in-Goal 14. If the ball enters touch in-goal the Touch Judge shall wave the flag across the body and below the waist. With the other hand he/she points to either the goal line or twenty metre line depending on where play should be restarted. Do not point to the player who made the ball dead.
Judge kicks at goal 15. Touch Judges shall assist the Referee in judging kicks at goal. (See Section 6 para.10).
Indicating 10 metres 16. When a free kick is being taken, both Touch Judges shall take up a position near the touch line ten metres beyond the mark to act as markers for the
team which is required to retire.
Official Inquiry 17. In cases where circumstances in connection with the match are likely to be made the subject of official investigation, the Referee and Touch Judges shall report to the investigating authority only and shall refrain from expressing criticism or comment through other channels.
Referee injured 1. When a Referee is unable to continue he should appoint a substitute, preferably a neutral Touch Judge. If the Referee is not able to appoint a substitute, the respective captains should mutually agree, failing which the Touch Judge with the greater experience should take control.
If the injury sustained by a Referee renders him incapable of blowing his whistle to stop the game, the latter shall be deemed to have stopped at the time the injury was sustained.
Consult Touch Judge 2. Before giving a decision, it is permissible for the Referee to consult either or both Touch Judges.
Player returns to playing field 5. A player who has temporarily retired from the game shall inform the nearer Touch Judge before re-entering the playing field.
Caution 6. A caution may be administered to a team as a whole in which case each player is considered to have received an individual caution. When a final caution is given, the nature of the offence and the time must be recorded by the Referee and must be quoted if the player is subsequently dismissed.
Temporary Suspension 6. The power to temporarily suspend a player is not an encouragement to Referees to deal leniently in the event of misconduct which merits dismissal.
End of Temporary Suspension 6. A temporarily suspended player shall re-enter the playing field when permitted to do so by the Referee. The Referee shall be guided by the timekeeper if one is employed otherwise he himself will determine the end of the suspension.
Dismissed player 6. A dismissed player can take no further part in the match, nor shall he be permitted to take up a position near the playing area where his presence is likely to provoke further incident.
Changing player’s position 6. When administering a final caution to a player who has persistently committed breaches of the laws, the Referee shall advise the player’s Captain so that the latter may, if he so wishes, change the player’s position in the team.
Playing area 7. Where there is no actual enclosure, the area of control is that within the natural boundaries of the field in which the playing area is located.
Harassing Referee 7. If a Referee or Touch Judge is assaulted or unduly harassed by any person arising out of his control of a match, he should submit a report to the appropriate League even though such incident occurs after the match is ended.
Whistle blown 8. Play must stop even if the whistle is blown accidentally in accidentally which case play is restarted with a scrum where the ball was last touched by a player in the field of play before the whistle is blown, and his team shall be given the loose head and put -in.
Apply advantage 8. The advantage law applies to all phases of play, but where a team infringes in a strong tactical position the advantage should be allowed only if the ball goes immediately into the possession of the non-offending team.
The Referee is the sole judge of what constitutes an advantage be it tactical or territorial. An infringement is not ‘negated’ simply because the ball touches or is touched by an opponent. The opponent must have adequate opportunity to take advantage and endeavour to do so before play is allowed to proceed.
Application of the advantage laws does not deprive the Referee of subsequently dealing with an offending player.
Infringement by attacking team If a team infringes when in a strong attacking position territorial or tactical, the Referee should stop play promptly, unless the ball is immediately possessed by the defending team because a loose ball cannot be considered to be of advantage to a team in a weak, defensive position. Applying the advantage law does not deprive the Referee of his power to deal subsequently with any offending player.
Awarding a Try 9. The circumstances referred to in this Law will not arise when a try is scored as the Referee shall look at both Touch Judges before awarding a try.
Touch Judge under control of Referee 10. A Touch Judge is at all times under the control of the Referee and may be dismissed and replaced if, in the opinion of the Referee, he can no longer be considered to be neutral. In this case, any decision made by a Touch Judge leading to his
dismissal may be disregarded. Any misconduct by a Touch Judge should be reported by the Referee to the appropriate authority.
Report misconduct quickly 11. (b) If a Touch Judge wishes to report a player’s misconduct he should attract the Referee’s attention as quickly as possible in order to avoid an unnecessary continuation of play. Any subsequent penalty is awarded where the offence occurred and not where play is subsequently stopped.
No undue interference A Touch Judge must not unduly interfere with the Referee’s control of the game by reporting incidents which have obviously been seen by the Referee.
Ball swerving back into Playing Field 13. A Touch Judge should not raise his flag immediately the ball in flight crosses the touch line if there is a possibility of it swerving or being blown back into the playing field because play is not stopped if the ball does drop back into the playing field.
Controversial decisions 15. If any decision by a Referee is likely to be controversial, the Referee may explain his reasons for making the decisions if by so doing unnecessary misunderstanding or controversy can be avoided.
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