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MARFU Sideline Behavior Policy

(approved August 29, 2010)

This Policy is applicable to all matches played under the direct jurisdiction of the Mid-Atlantic RFU (MARFU), such as League matches, Playoff matches and MARFU Qualifiers.

Responsibility for discipline on and off the rugby pitch lies with the players, captains and team management as well as the match officials.

Code of Conduct

It is the responsibility of those who manage rugby at all levels, and in all capacities, to ensure that players, non-players, spectators, and club members at any match do not engage in behavior that is contrary to the image and orderly conduct of Rugby Union Football, and that they observe and comply with all USA Rugby, Territorial, Local Area Union or Club discipline protocols.

Players, coaches, along with team and union officials, should not tolerate obnoxious, impolite, or antisocial behavior of any sort that would adversely affect the image of the game as a serious and disciplined athletic endeavor. This includes verbal abuse of opponents by players or their supporters. Accordingly, all spectators, coaches, players, etc. not participating in the match are expected to behave in a manner that, as a minimum, excludes any of the following:

  • inciting players to violence
  • verbal abuse of any match official
  • public use of foul language
  • verbal abuse of opposing team players, staff or supporters
  • any menacing manner, including gestures, threats, violent actions, etc. towards any match official or any other person attending the match

Any person participating in inappropriate behavior may be requested to leave the playing enclosure as determined by the match official. When such incidents occur, it is incumbent upon the match or union official to issue a formal report at the MARFU website to the governing authorities. Witnessed accounts of inappropriate behavior may be reported by any individual to the governing authority for its review and consideration for disciplinary action.  Behavior that crosses the boundaries of Civil Law should be immediately reported to the local or state police.

All persons inside and outside the sideline barrier must not interfere with the duties of the Touch Judge. Persons who interfere with the touch judge may be asked to move outside the barrier by the referee, touch judge or Union official and must do so at once.

Coaches must not seek to communicate with match officials during any stoppage in play including the halftime interval unless the Referee gives specific permission to do so. The exception is communication with the Touch Judge regarding the substitution and replacement of players. Also, other team management members are not permitted to communicate with the match officials at half time. This does not preclude normal communication between the Team Captain and the Referee.

If an issue arises, Referees are encouraged to notify the captain of the offending team that sideline personnel associated with his/her team are not following policy and ask the Captain to convey that message to the offending parties.  If the behavior persists, an official Administrative Disciplinary Report will be filed against the offending club(s).

It is hoped that this policy will allow the players, referee and touch judges to concentrate on the match and not be distracted inappropriate sideline behavior and harassment.