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Surrey Rugby's Approach to Match Official Abuse (MOA)

Dear Members

Please be aware and read the below. It is important everyone treats the match officials, whether appointed or Club referees, appropriately.

Kind regards 

Steve Heard 

Chairman Cobham RFC 


This season, the RFU has identified the need to take a tougher stance with regards to MOA. Surrey agrees with this renewed focus on such offences, given the statistical and anecdotal increase in incidents of MOA. It is noted that player-generated MOA figures have remained broadly consistent year-on-year, but abuse by coaches, support staff and spectators has been increasing.

The Head of RFU Judiciary’s report on MOA is attached. Applying the RFU’s directive, any offence contrary to RFU Rule 9.28 will be aggravated in accordance with RFU Regulation 19.11.13(b) as follows:

Low End by 2 weeks, Mid-Range by 3 weeks, and Top End (whatever starting point is determined) by 4 weeks.

This aggravation will also be applied to rule 5.12 cases. Under Regulation 19.6.7, Surrey Rugby is authorised to investigate and institute disciplinary proceedings where there is an alleged breach of Rule 5.12 (conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Game, amongst other things) and may require the person, Player or Club to whom the allegation relates to attend before a Disciplinary Panel to answer the allegation.

Complaints made to Surrey Rugby regarding MOA not dealt with by the issue of a sanction by the match referee, likely to comprise offences occurring from the touchline or spectators, may therefore be investigated by Surrey Rugby and may result in attendance being required before a Disciplinary Panel.

Following an adverse finding against an individual or club under Rule 5.12, Surrey Rugby has the power to impose an appropriate sanction. As defined in Regulation 19.11.7, appropriate sanction includes but shall not be limited to:

(a) for a person, a reprimand, a financial penalty or suspension from playing, coaching and/or administration.

(b) for a Club, in addition to the sanction set out in RFU Regulation 19.11.7(a), financial or other compensation, deduction of league points or relegation, exclusion or disqualification from any competition.

Download PDF • 1.32MB

Clubs should therefore note the availability of these sanctions, and that Surrey Rugby will apply them where appropriate in the interests of supporting match officials and protecting the reputation and integrity of the game we love.


Chair of Surrey Rugby Discipline

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