Stage 1: The Judicial Officer/Disciplinary Committee assesses the seriousness of the Foul Play (low-end, mid-range, top-end) by reference to the following factors (see Regulation 17.19.2):
- gravity of the actions;
- nature of the actions, the manner in which the offence was committed including part of body used (for example, fist, elbow, knee or boot);
- existence of provocation;
- whether the player acted in retaliation and the timing of such;
- whether the player acted in self-defence (that is whether he/she used a reasonable degree of force in defending him/herself);
- effect on the victim (for example, extent of injury, removal of victim from the game);
- effect of the actions on the match;
- vulnerability of the victim including part of victim’s body involved/affected, position of the victim, ability to defend him/herself;
- level of participation in the offending and level of premeditation;
- whether the conduct was completed or amounted to an attempt; and
- any other feature of the conduct in relation to or connected with the offending.
As you will appreciate it is a sequential exercise, considering the facts of every case against the checklist above.
With the Law number and category of conduct (e.g., high tackle, stiff arm tackle, etc.) the entry point will then be identified in the sanctions table. For example, for a “tip tackle” (Law 10.4(j)) the mid-range entry point is 10 weeks. The sanctions table is attached as Appendix 3. This entry point is the starting sanction (in number of weeks) which can be increased and/or decreased at Stages 2 and 3 to arrive at the final sanction. You will see in the sanction table that for a number of different categories of Foul Play where the victim player’s head is involved the action must be classified as either mid-range or top-end depending on the particular offence.
Stage 1 is the only stage of the process where the incident itself is reviewed and assessed. The next two stages look at external factors relating to the player him/herself to increase or decrease the sanction from the entry point.