Simplified red cards to be trialled by World Rugby in 2024

World Rugby has announced further details of a trial of a revised red card sanctioning process that will see automatic off-field sanctions for players shown a red card.

The results of the trials will be considered by World Rugby’s Executive Board and Council in November.

The closed trial, mandated by the International Federation’s Executive Board, follows a strong call from the Shape of the Game Forum held in February to review disciplinary processes through the prism of spectator engagement while reducing administrative burdens. Clearly defined automatic bans will be applied to red card promoting consistency in outcomes that are easier to understand without compromising player welfare: 

-Foul Play: Automatic two weeks – where a player has attempted to interfere with a legal rugby action and/or has committed a reckless act, but has made minor errors such as in technique or timing. 

-Aggravated Foul Play: Automatic four weeks – where a player has committed a highly reckless act and/or an illegal rugby act (tucked arm, no attempt to wrap, driving tackle. 

The 20-minute red card was approved following a review of feedback and data from ongoing studies, which show that the tackle culture in the sport is changing, with an overall reduction in red cards and a stabilisation in concussion rates. In 2023-24, there was a 37 per cent reduction in ‘Tackle School’ applications – those attending course to reduce a sanction following a sanction – compared to 2022-23, while less than six per cent of players worldwide re-offended. 

With a remit to develop a process that supports rugby’s mission to grow spectator numbers without compromising player welfare, the trials will be subject to detailed review and evaluation through the prism of welfare and game experience. The findings will be presented to World Rugby’s Executive Board and Council for consideration in November.

Source: Inside the games. Photo: Getty Images

Leave a reply