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Citing Commissioner Warning

A Citing Commissioner Warning (CCW) is a significant sanction for players and teams. In regard to individual players, a CCW has the same effect as an on-field Yellow Card. This means that any combination of three Yellow Cards or CCW's in a tournament requires a hearing and similarly any combination of two Yellow Cards or CCW's in a single game also requires a hearing.

The authority to issue a CCW is contained in Regulation 17 as follows:

17.9.3 Citing Commissioners shall be entitled to issue a Citing Commissioner Warning to a Player who has in his opinion committed an act(s) of Foul Play which falls just short of warranting that the Player concerned be Ordered Off in circumstances where the act of Foul Play was not subject to a Temporary Suspension or Ordering Off.

A CCW is not an opportunity to right a wrong from the field and issue a Yellow Card that you believe the Referee should have.

As a CCW is issued only for foul play, it becomes part of the player’s disciplinary record along with red cards and citings. The number of CCW’s a player has received is taken into account when a sanction is considered, it is therefore very important to follow the guide in Regulation 17.9.3 above.

Your decision-making process for a CCW must follow this logic;

  • Belief on your first viewing of the incident. As you are citing a game there is some opportunity to note and review incidents on field. This is usually to confirm to you that they require further investigation afterwards. On your first look at an incident that would lead to a CCW you need to form a belief that (based on what you see at that time) that the matter potentially meets the Red Card test.
  • Subsequent Review. After the game you can review the recorded material and seek clips from the Broadcaster. After reviewing this material, it is likely that you have significantly more information to assist you with your decision. At times, you can find material that indicates the incident is not as serious as you think, or other players contributed to the incident. For example:
    • For a high tackle, you might determine that there was no forceful impact to the head, but the tackle was still late and above the line of the shoulders
    • For a lifting tackle, you may find that another player (or the tackled player themselves) contributed to the outcome. As a result, it is hard to definitively state that the offending player was the sole cause, or
    • In a high tackle, you may find that the player was already tackled and falling into the tackle and had twisted to try and play the ball, thereby contributing to their height from the ground and orientation toward the tackler.
  • Re-thinking your Red Card belief. You have started with a genuine belief that the matter is likely to be a Red Card level offence but on review you find several contributing factors that mitigate it down from a full citing. The actions are still dangerous and exposed the player to risk so you need to sanction them in some way. This is when you can issue a CCW.

Note. This does not work in the opposite direction. i.e. you review a matter that you thought should have been a penalty and decide that it needed a more serious sanction and you issue a Citing Warning as a result.