RFU Game Regulations & MRAI

For RFU Regulations click here: Regulations

[Adult Competitions are covered by Regulation 6, including Appendix 1, 2,3 and 4]

Midlands Region Administrative Instructions (MRAI) for 2023-2024

Issue 3
(Issued September 14th 2023)

The RFU Regulations and MRAI are published on the RFU and Midlands Region Organising Committee’s (MROC) Websites.

www.englandrugby.com/governance/rules-and-regulations     and www.rfumidlands.com

Changes from 2022-23:

·         Update to RFU regulations where these have been renumbered

·         Amendment to sections 6 and 12.2 regarding front row player number alleviation.

·         Addition of 5.9 on alternative grounds

·         Major amendment to 6.1 on criteria for allowing walkovers and subsequent point allocation. Addition of 6.2 & 6.3 and renumbering of subsequent items.

·         Amend sanction threshold for non-fulfilment of matches in 6.55.

·         Reword 8.1 on RFU knockouts

·         Rewrite of 9.1 and 9.2 based on regulation change

·         Amendment to sanction wording in 10.4

·         Additions of section 10.8 regarding players being selected and playing for two squads on the same or consecutive days

·         Addition of sections 10.9 to 0 referring to loading lower XV teams with higher level players

·         Addition of sections 17 on recording of matches and 18 on noting concussions and renumbering of subsequent sections

Changes from issue 1

·         Change to result notification text number in 13.2

Changes from issue 2

·         Amendment to text in 5.2

·         Update to timings for offering and accepting friendlies in 6.1

·         Amendment to floodlight requirements in 9.3

·         Clarification of abandonment process in 10.6

·         Amendment to guidelines on player eligibility in 10.11

·         Amendment to wording in 13.6


The MROC has invoked the freedom of providing local regulation variation for the benefit of the game as allowed by RFU regulation 6 item 54 and incorporated these variations in the MRAI.

By applying to and participating in competitions organised by the MROC on behalf of the RFU clubs accept to be bound by the MRAI in their entirety.

N.B. Please note that any formal correspondence between a Club and the MROC should be on Club headed notepaper and should be from and signed by the Club Secretary and/or Club Chairman. An e-mail is not an acceptable method, although a letter as an attachment to the e-mail will suffice.

1.           Applications to join the RFU Leagues

1.1              An application from a club XV (1st or lower) wishing to join the RFU Leagues (English Clubs Rugby Union Championship; ECRUC) should be on Club headed paper, signed by two officers of the Club and should be accompanied by a letter from the Club’s Constituent Body (CB) supporting its application. The application should be forwarded to the relevant MROC CB representative before April 1st of the season preceding the one when the XV wishes to join the leagues.

1.2              The club will need to be able to prove that it can fulfil a full league programme of games, by supplying its fixtures list and results of the season preceding the season in which it would like to join the leagues, and that the club has the organisation in place to make sure that all the RFU Regulations and MRAI are followed implicitly, and by supplying the full contact details of the Club Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer for the season in which the Club wishes to join the leagues.

2.           Applications to join the Midlands Region RFU Leagues from another Region

2.1             An application from a club already in the RFU leagues that wishes to transfer into the Midlands Region at the same level as it holds in another Region must be made as in 1.1 above, with a deadline date being 12 months earlier than the one in 1.1.

2.2             Clubs already included in the Midlands Leagues as a result of Level Transfer will be more readily accepted on a permanent basis if they apply as in 1.1 above.

2.3              Clubs joining at the bottom level will be able to follow the procedure outlined in 1.1 and 1.2 above.

3.           Computer Print-Outs and Player Registration

3.1              Player registration can be done online via the Game Management System (GMS) accessed from englandrugby.com. Clubs registering online must have a fully completed registration form, signed by both player and club, in their possession before registering online. This must be done within 28 days of the player signing the Registration Form. Failure to have such a fully signed form as required may result in sanctions against the club. Clubs must retain all hard copy documentation for at least 12 months following the season in which registration took place, before being put into storage at the club. Registration via the Registrar is still available to all clubs.

3.2              All completed registration forms being sent to the Registrar for registering of players must be forwarded by first class post to:

The Rugby Registrar,

RFU Results and Registrations Office,

PO Box 3781,


SN2 9GW.

Registration Forms must reach the Registrar so that the process can be completed within 28 days of the player signing the Registration Form. Faxed registration forms will not be accepted. Special arrangements apply to Expedited Registrations (see RFU Registration Process under Regulation 14.5.8). Please contact the office before attempting to make any expedited payment or entering the details of the player online.

For assistance contact the Registrar (Bob Morrison) on 01793 677878 or e-mail office@rugbyadmin.net.

3.3              An A4 stamped self-addressed envelope with the name of the club in the top left-hand corner must accompany requests for registration. An up-dated copy of the computerised registration list will then be returned to the club using this envelope.

3.4              The RFU Registrar will retain submitted player registration forms until the end of the season. These will then be sent to the RFU for storage.

3.5              Every club must appoint an officer and a deputy to be responsible for all registration matters. These officers must be fully aware of the RFU Registration of Players, Regulations and Operating Procedures. These are published annually and sent to Club Secretaries.

4.           Ground and Match Management

4.1              It is the responsibility of the home club at all levels to ensure that spectators do not encroach on the playing enclosure. Suitable barriers should be erected to ensure compliance with this. Where a club Committee at Level 5 or below is satisfied that it is impractical or unnecessary for barriers to be erected this requirement may be waived. However, if the Home club’s Referees Society insists on the use of barriers, then the Home club must comply. Technical areas should also be marked out in accordance with Regulation 6 item 26. Regulation 6 items 28 to 30 regarding personnel allowed in the technical area should also be adhered to and it is the responsibility of the home club to manage this. 

5.           Postponed Games

5.1              No ECRUC League game may be postponed without first having the consent of the League Secretary (or other MROC Officer if the League Secretary is uncontactable). If a game is likely to be postponed then the Home club must inform the League Secretary of the possibility as soon as possible and before they contact their opposition. If the League Secretary agrees to the postponement, they will confirm this to First Eleven Sports. A lack of communication by the Home club on this matter will result in the club being sanctioned as MRAI 15.2. Once the League Secretary has agreed the postponement then the Home club must telephone the Results Agency and their Referees Society to let them know.

5.2              When a game is awarded as AWO, HWO, postponed or abandoned the home club should not submit the EMC. This must be done by the League Secretary or Results Agency.

5.3              Breaches of items 5.1 or 5.2 will be deemed finable misdemeanours.

5.4              The result of an unplayed League Match due to an unjustified cry-off will be a win for the non-offending Club with a 0 points difference and the award of a single bonus point as per RFU regulation 6 item 46. The offending club will be deducted 5 Championship points as allowed by RFU Regulation 6 appendix 3 item 2, unless the process in MRAI 6.1 has been invoked.

5.5              Postponed league games must be played on the next available weekend. The League Secretary will advise the clubs of the new date within 48 hours of being informed of the postponement and will give the clubs at least 6 days’ notice of the date of the rearranged game.

5.6              Rearranged league games take precedence over all other competitions except RFU KO Competitions.

5.7              A club may not postpone a League game because of lack of availability of its ground. In such circumstances in the first half of the season the fixture may be reversed with the corresponding fixture in the second half of the season. In the second half of the season an attempt to seek an alternative venue should be made and if unsuccessful, a ruling will be made by the League Secretary. Any swapping of the original venues must be done through the League Secretary. If there is no agreement between the clubs to a swapping of venues then the default will be the original venues published.

5.8          A club whose home ground is considered by them to be unfit to play on should arrange for an inspection of the pitch preferably on the morning of the game. The inspection should be carried out with a Club Officer in attendance and preferably with a local member of the Home side's Referees Society also present. The inspection should be carried out at least three hours ahead of the scheduled kick off time, with the travel time of the opposition also being taken into consideration to prevent the travelling team and the referee from making an unnecessary journey. Photographs of the problem areas should be taken so that the League Secretary has evidence to refer to. The League Secretary will them make the decision to postpone or not.

5.9              A club whose home ground is at risk of being unplayable in the week ahead of a league fixture should proactively take steps to secure an alternative facility, including investigating the option of playing the match at the ground of their opposition. If this match is in the first half of the season the fixture may be reversed with the corresponding fixture in the second half of the season.

6.           Notional wins

At Level 5 and below, if on the first occasion a team is required to replace a front row player with a replacement front row player and it cannot do so, then uncontested scrums will be ordered and the non-offending team will be deemed to have won the match. 4 Championship points will be awarded to the non offending side plus a bonus point, with a 0 points diffference. The offending team may, in addition to losing the match 0-0, be deducted 5 Championship points.

Exception In Counties 3 and below league matches teams will be able to start a league match with only three front row players available in the squad. If on the first occasion a team is required to replace a front row player and it cannot do so, then uncontested scrums will be ordered and the game will continue. There will be no further sanction and the result at the end of the game will stand.

6.1              When a club at Level 7 or below is unable to select a team from its list of registered players they should first offer to play the game under Game-On principles, or failing that as a friendly, with a minimum of 10 players using unregistered or borrowed players or with uncontested scrums. The offending team must inform the League Secretary and their opponents of their offer to play a friendly at the earliest opportunity and save for exceptional circumstances by no later than 20:00 on the Thursday prior to the match. The non-offending team prepared to play a friendly must respond by 12 noon Friday. This option will be available to a team a maximum of three times during the season. The non-offending team should accept the offer to play such a match in which event they will be awarded a 5-point walkover.  Should the non-offending team decline to play or fail to honour the fixture once accepted they will not be awarded any league points. Failure to give these options of playing the game under Game-On or as a friendly by the offending club  or failing to honour a friendly once accepted will mean that the failure to play will be considered an “unjust” cancellation and will result in the deduction of 5 Championship points from the offending club’s record and, in the event of the fixture being in the first half of the season, will result in the corresponding fixture in the second half of the season being reversed as per RFU regulation 6 item 47.

6.2              In the event that the appointed referee withdraws from the friendly fixture then it will be the responsibility of the offending team to supply a referee who must be in addition to the minimum of 10 players.

6.3              An Electronic Match Card cannot be used to record matches played under this arrangement.  The details (including number of players per side) must be communicated to the Results Service via phone or text. 

6.4              At all other Levels clubs are expected to be of a standard that should not require the use of non-registered or borrowed players. A fixture cancellation through lack of players will be considered “unjust” and MRAI 5.4 will be applied. Repeated offences may result in further disciplinary action.

6.5              Any club which gives away three of its league games as notional wins to its opposition during the season will receive an immediate warning. Any club which then gives away further notional wins may be sanctioned by the MROC, with potential disciplinary action taken including but not limited to being relegated by one or more leagues, being expelled from the leagues or the Club’s record being reported to the RFU.

6.6              Clubs at level 7 (Counties 1) and below are encouraged to utilise the “Game On” principles to allow matches to take place when teams have insufficient squad numbers or front row players as allowed by RFU regulation 6 item 52.

7.           League free weekend

7.1              Due to the revised structured season, there is no longer the opportunity for clubs to apply for “free weekends”.

8.           RFU KO Competitions

8.1              The RFU KO Competitions are administered by the RFU.

9.           Kick-off Times for League Matches & Floodlights usage

9.1              The default kick-off times for RFU League matches will be 2:15 pm. in November, December, January and February and 3:00 pm. at all other times. The kick off time may be varied by mutual agreement between the clubs, otherwise the default time will apply as provided in RFU regulation 6 item 41.

9.2              Any club wishing to play all home League matches at the same kick off time all season (e.g. 15:00) must submit a request for this to their League Secretary before the start of the season. The League Secretary will consider this request, and if the request is granted, the League Secretary and/or the club will inform all clubs in the League of this decision.

9.3              Any club playing a competitive RFU match under floodlights at any time in the season must be able to provide on request either:

·         (i)  a copy of a Lux certificate dated no more than three years old in order to confirm the performance criteria outlined below.

Ø  Men’s Championship to National 2 League (formerly Levels 2 – 4) and Women’s Level 2: Minimum Average Maintained Illuminance - 200 lux, Uniformity 0.6

Ø  Men’s Regional 1 and below (formerly Level 5 and below) and Women’s Level 3-6: Minimum Average Maintained Illuminance - 100 lux, Uniformity 0.5

·         (ii) a completed risk assessment signed off by at least two officials of the club stating that the lighting has been assessed and deemed suitable for competitive matches.

The RFU Risk Assessment Form can be found here (in red below), or else it can be downloaded from the Downloads page.

9.4              Any club that plays an RFU league or KO match under floodlights that do not have approval as per MRAI 9.3 may find themselves subject to sanction and that their RFU insurance is invalid for any such matches.

10.       Electronic Match Result Cards

Please note that all clubs at all Levels will be using the RFU’s Electronic Match Results Card (EMC) system. The completion of these EMCs is a compulsory requirement and failure to do so will lead to a sanction determined by the MROC.

Team line-ups must be in “Confirmed” status at least 15 minutes before the scheduled kick-off time. Any necessary alterations to the team line-ups on the EMC after this time must be done via the League Secretary or other authorised MROC official. Clubs are not permitted to make the changes themselves and any changes so made will be considered a sanctionable offence.

10.1          The EMC must be submitted to the League Secretary within 24 hours of the game being played or by 5:00 pm on a Sunday afternoon if the game is played on the Saturday afternoon. If these timescales are not adhered to the club will be liable to sanction as MRAI 15.2.

10.2          Clubs wishing to query any “missing” bonus points in the published League Table need to do so to their League Secretary within 14 days of the match. Bonus points awarded incorrectly will be deducted as soon as the error is brought to the League Secretary’s attention with the affected club having 14 days in which to request a review of the decision. At the end of the season the notification period will be reduced to 7 days.

10.3          RFU Regulation 14.2.2 allowing 2 unregistered players to be on the EMC will only apply at Level 9 and below. The sanction for not complying with this Regulation will be a deduction of 5 Championship points.

10.3.1 For a Club to play up to two unregistered players they should follow the procedure set out below:

(1)   They should contact the Registrar asap (copying the League Secretary) informing him of the name and date of birth of the unregistered player/s.

(2)   The registrar will then confirm if the player is unregistered. (The player is only unregistered if he is not Effectively Registered with another Club and eligible for registration. They cannot play on a second or subsequent occasion for that or any other club until the procedural obligations for registration have been fulfilled.)

(3)   The Registrar will then inform the Club and League Secretary whether the player is eligible to play. 

(4)   If there is insufficient time for the registrar to complete the checks or the club is unable to submit the details ahead of confirming their squad then the player may be selected as an unregistered player with verbal confirmation from them that they meet the requirements of (2). However, if on subsequent checks they are found to be ineligible then the club will be liable to sanction in line with 10.3.

10.4          A club shall be deducted a minimum of 5 Championship points when an unregistered or an ineligible player appears on the EMC (MRAI 10.3 excepted). The sanction will be applied whether it is a single or multiple player default on the same EMC.

10.5          A club shall be deducted 20 Championship points on each occasion that deliberate false information has been provided on the EMC. This will be in addition to any points which may be deducted if the players in the squad were ineligible to play. Under this Instruction 5 Championship points will also be deducted for each unregistered/ineligible player a club has on its EMC (MRAI 10.3 excepted).

10.6          When any ECRUC game finishes earlier than the stipulated full 80 minutes of play timed by the referee then the game is deemed to be abandoned and RFU Regulation 6 items 70 to 76 apply. In this case it is the responsibility of both clubs to report this to the League Secretary by phone or email (preferred) as soon as possible after the abandonment. In addition the home club should send a written account stating the exact time of abandonment, the match score at the time and the reason for the abandonment to the League Secretary within four hours of the abandonment as per RFU Regulation 6 items 75 and 76. In the event of a match being abandoned the home club should not submit the EMC.

10.7          When any ECRUC League game contains uncontested scrums then this should be noted on the EMC. Both clubs must contact the League Secretary to inform them of this and the reason as per RFU Regulation 6 items 65.

10.8          If a club has teams at different levels playing league matches on the same or consecutive days it is acceptable to select the same players for both matches. However, for player welfare it is expected that no player shall play more than 100 minutes over the two matches. This will be monitored by correct completion of the replacements section on both match cards by the club.

10.9          A club with more than one team competing in the ECRUC must always honour its highest fixture. If a higher team unjustifiably defaults (including requesting a match to be played under Game-On or as a friendly) and the lower team(s) play on the same weekend, then the lower team(s) shall be deemed to have lost, a notional 0–0 score shall be recorded and the opposition will be awarded 5 championship points. There will be no further sanction against the club defaulting the higher-level fixture.

10.10  Further to 10.8, if a higher team fixture does not take place for reasons beyond their control or the higher team does not have a fixture, then any lower XVs should be selected as though the higher XV(s) were playing. The League Secretary of the lower team(s) may review the result and match squads of such matches if it is suspected that lower team(s) have fielded a significant number of players from higher-level teams. If this is the case the League Secretary has the power to record a notional 0-0 win to the opposing team(s) and award them 5 championship points and warn the club fielding the higher-level players. However, there will be no further sanction against the team fielding the higher-level players, unless the League Secretary deems that this is a recurring offence, in which case MRAI 15.1 may be invoked.

Guidelines on player eligibility for RFU competition matches (to be applied after the Transfer Deadline, 10th Feb 2024), note that the League Secretary may request the playing and/or availability record for any player who appears to breach these guidelines

·         Any player (apart from a nominated front row player) who has represented the 1st XV in more than four or 50% of its competitive matches (whichever is greater), or who represented the 1st XV in their previous league match will not be eligible to represent the 2nd XV, unless (a) they are only playing for the higher team to replace an injured higher team player; (b) they are returning from a period of injury, which needs to be more than four (4) playing weekends; or (c) the committee exceptionally agrees otherwise. A similar guideline will apply on player movement between 2nd and 3rd XVs where applicable.

·         Any player (apart from a nominated front row player) who has represented the 1st XV in a competitive match will not be eligible to represent the 3rd XV.

10.11      It is expected that the above principles will also apply to support league structures and local merit tables.

11.       “Rolling” Substitutions (Replacements) at Levels 5 and below

11.1          At Levels 5 to 8 up to a maximum of 3 players may be named as replacements and players will be allowed to “roll on and roll off” to the maximum of 8 interchanges allowed by RFU Regulation 6 item 60.

11.2          At Levels 9 and below up to a maximum of 5 players may be named as replacements and players will be allowed to “roll on and roll off” to the maximum of 10 interchanges allowed by RFU Regulation 6 item 60 and locally varied by item 54.

12.       Front Row Replacements

12.1          All teams selected must contain at least four players suitably trained and experienced to play in the front row. These must be noted as such on the EMC.

12.2          Clubs playing in Counties 3 and below leagues have an alleviation in that they only need to name three front row players in their matchday squad. Clubs playing in other leagues may nominate only three front row players if Game-On principles have been agreed for that match.

12.3          Clubs must be able to replace a front row player at the first time of asking. Any club that is unable to do this (other than as exempted by MRAI 12.2) will face sanctions.

12.4          If at any time during a match a team are unable to field a suitably trained and experienced front row so that uncontested scrums are needed the team will not be allowed to replace the player that caused this so will play a player down (“man-off” regulation) for as long as uncontested scrums are needed as per RFU regulation 6 item 60.

12.5          Clubs may mutually agree pre-match to apply “Game On” principles to allow matches to take place without contested scrums or associated sanctions as allowed by RFU regulation 6 item 52.

13.       Notification of Results

13.1          Club Secretaries are responsible for their Club’s compliance with the rules regarding notification of results to the League Secretary and Results Agency.

13.2          Home clubs must notify The Midlands Rugby Results Service (Tel: 0121 663 6631; text: 07908 683303) or update the GMS, with the score (points for and against) before the 5:30 pm deadline on a Saturday. As soon as possible after the game, but before 5.00 pm on the Sunday, clubs must make sure that the post-match details (tries tallies) are completed before finally submitting the match card.

13.3          A “Dummy’s Guide” to completing the EMC can be found on the MROC website.

13.4          When a match is played at any time other than a Saturday afternoon the result must be reported, or the GMS updated as above, within 30 minutes of the end of the game. If an injury or extra time is likely to delay the result being reported on time, then a telephone call to notify The Results Service before the deadline will help to prepare them for a late result.

13.5          Failure by the Home club to notify the results or supply correct, required information within the time limits specified will incur a sanction. Information not reaching the League Secretary within the time scales notified in MRAI 10.1 will be deemed not to have been sent. The EMC will still need to be submitted by the Home club following notification of non-arrival.

13.6          Offending clubs will be notified by the MROC Secretary of any sanctions imposed as a result of any of the above.

14.       End of season “dead rubbers”

14.1          All scheduled league matches must be honoured unless they fall in the cup window due to rearrangement. If appropriate these may be deemed “dead rubbers”.

14.2          The League Secretary has the sole responsibility and discretion to decide if any match may be considered a “dead rubber”. Clubs cannot make this decision unilaterally.

15.       Sanctions & Fines

15.1          The MROC is delegated to sanction any club that does not comply with or adhere to the RFU Regulations and/or the MRAI. Where the Committee finds there has been a breach of RFU Regulations it may impose such sanction as it deems appropriate, in accordance with the Sanctions Guidelines set out in Regulation 6 Appendices 3 and 4, unless a fixed sanction is stipulated.

A list of the sanctions available to the MROC may be found under RFU Regulation 6 items 94 to 97.

15.2          The RFU recommends that clubs are sanctioned for misdemeanours, to include but not be limited to the following:

·                     Failure by either team to inform the League Secretary in a timely manner of their inability to fulfil a fixture at the agreed time and date.

·                     Failure by either team to identify front row and replacement front row player(s) on the match card.

·                     Failure by either team to confirm their team line up at least 15 minutes before kick-off or amendment of it after this time (necessary amendments needed after this deadline should be communicated to the League Secretary and/or CB representative who will make the changes on the club’s behalf).

·                     Failure by the Home team to supply the correct score by 5:30 pm on a Saturday (or within 30 minutes of the end of the game on any other day).

·                     Failure by the Home team to enter the number of tries scored by each team, via the post-match tab on the match card.

·                     Failure by the Home team to submit the match card by the published deadline (Sunday 5:00 pm).

·                     Lack of communication with the administrators of the Leagues (MRAI 5.1).

·                     Failure by either team to notify the League Secretary of a game being abandoned for any reason or a game going to uncontested scrums at any time (MRAI 10.6 and 10.7).

·                     Failure of the home club to comply with RFU regulation 12 regarding the appointment and timely confirmation of match officials.

15.3          Failure to pay fines within 28 days may result in the fine being increased and may also result in the offending club also having 5 Championship points deducted (RFU regulation 6 item 95).

15.4          A club with any fines outstanding at the end of the season will be reported to the RFU with a recommendation that the club be suspended or expelled from the League for the following season.

16.       Reviews

16.1          Any club wishing to seek a review of a decision made by a League Secretary must do so to the Chair of the MROC in the first instance, and if still not satisfied with the review decision, appeal to the RFU in the second. Any request for a review must be from the Club Secretary or Chair and one other Officer of the Club and signed by both. It must be in writing and on Club headed notepaper and should be sent as an e-mail attachment. A request for a review by other persons or means will not be considered. The request should state the grounds on which the review is sought.

A request for a review should be made within 14 days of the receipt of the decision made or will be deemed to be timed out.

16.2          The review request should be accompanied by the review fee, in the form of a BACS transfer for £50. The fee will be refunded if the review changes the original decision. Reviews will be carried out virtually by a quorum of MROC members who do not have a conflict of interest in the request. Clubs may request a personal hearing but may be liable for the expenses incurred in holding that hearing, in addition to the review fee.

17.       Recording of Matches

17.1          If a match is played on private land, then the home club have the right to refuse to allow the away club to record the match, unless the home club are recording it, in which case the away club will also be allowed to record it. If a match is played on public land, then both clubs have the right to record it within the legal provisions of GDPR. If a club intends to record a match, then they should advise the opposition and match officials of their intent before the match and provide a copy of the recording within 96 hours of completion of the match if so requested.

18.       Recording of Concussions

18.1          Clubs are required by RFU regulation 9 item 9 to record any serious injuries which result in an overnight hospital stay. Clubs are also reminded that concussions should be recorded in order to invoke the correct return to play protocol. It is recommended that this is done by use of the section provided on the match card.

19.       Appendices

19.1          Cross Reference Between League and RFU Men’s Level.

  RFU Men’s Level   League Name

5     Regional 1

6     Regional 2

7             Counties 1

8     Counties 2

9     Counties 3

10     Counties 4


The MROC recommends that RFU Game Regulation 12.1.3 (b) in the current RFU Regulations needs to be emphasised and explained further.


RFU Game Regulation [Explained]


12.1.3 Confirmation


(a)    Save where a cup match is held on a neutral ground (in which case the RFU has responsibility), it is the responsibility of the home club to confirm, at least 48 hours before the match with (as appropriate) the RFU, its Referees Society, or the Federated Society of which the home club’s Referees Society is a member, that a referee (and in National Leagues, the touch judges) has been appointed. 


(b)    It is the home club’s responsibility to liaise [make connection] with the appointed match official(s) directly [not involving a third party] to ensure that the match official(s) is (are) aware of the arrangements [confirmation of appointment, time of kick-off, colours of teams etc.] and have the appropriate directions to the venue for the match (or any change of venue).


Leaving a message on a telephone answering machine, or with a family member, or indeed with any other person who may answer the call, is NOT regarded as making direct contact with the official(s), neither is sending a text message or an e-mail acceptable (without getting a positive response from the referee), and a further call within the appropriate time scale is required in order to make direct contact.


If direct contact cannot be made with the match official(s) within the time scale provided for in 12.1.3 (a), then the home club should make direct contact with their Referees Society Reappointments Officer to seek a replacement official for the game.


Referees Societies have been asked to make sure that their clubs are aware of this document and its contents, and to emphasise that appointed referees who do not have this direct contact from a club administrator may not turn up to referee the game at their club. Under these circumstances the club will have to face the consequences of this failure to make the necessary direct contact that is required by RFU Regulation.

 The appointment of referees to games is a contract between the clubs and the Referees Society that normally supplies those clubs, therefore Referee Societies need to make sure that clubs conform to their procedures of how and when direct contact with the referee to confirm appointments is made, adhering within their procedures to the RFU Regulation 12.1.3 (b) on Confirmation, and not undermining it.



Clubs who fail to make direct contact with the referee to confirm his/her appointment, resulting in the referee not turning up to referee the game will be sanctioned 5 Championship points and if the game is postponed, it will be rearranged for the next free Reserve Saturday for both clubs.

In RFU KO Competition games the offending Home side will be disqualified from the Competition and sanctioned £100 as per Midlands Competition Rules for not honouring an arranged game. The monies will be used to compensate the travelling side for a wasted journey.

This sanction is in line with sanctions given for unjustified postponed games, match management shortfalls (failure to comply with requirements) provided in RFU Game Regulation 6. Appendix 4.