top of page

Importance of Referee Reporting

The growth of rugby in the United States hinges upon how successfully aspects of professionalism are integrated into the game's culture, and officials completing effective, detailed match reports will be a key facet.

Match Reports

Complete relevant paperwork on Match Facts for each fixture.

Provide scores as well as counts for each type of score by each team. Record a brief summary of the game. Document any patterns that emerged in throughout the match relevant to offences and dominance in play.


If relevant to your match, provide reporting for Disciplinary events and/or Referee Abuse.

Discipline Reports

One of the most important referee responsibilities is maintaining a safe, disciplined environment for the players.


Temporary suspensions (yellow cards) and send-offs (red cards) are some of the tools available to achieve this; having used a card, the referee then has a responsibility to report the event to the relevant disciplinary committee so they can act accordingly.


To do their job, disciplinary committees need clear, complete and timely reports. Please make sure to acquire the necessary information at the time of the game and submit the report by 48 hours after match completion, but within 24 hours is preferred.

When writing discipline reports, remember that the relevant disciplinary committee will use the report when making their decision about sanction.

  • Use complete sentences

  • Choose your words carefully

  • Do not use abbreviations

Key Components of a Report

  • Specify red card or yellow card

  • Player’s team, position, and full name,

    • Simply saying, “it was # 7” is not sufficient

    • If, for some reason, you fail to get the player’s name, please ask one of the Society’s officers to help you obtain the name from the team.

  • Nature of the offense
    Use words in addition to a Law citation and examples of clear phrases are:

    • Dangerous tackling.  9.13

    • Repeated offending.  9.8 or 9.9

    • Cynical infringing.  9.7 (a)

  • Teams and Results

    • Note the score and time when the incident occurred, as well as the final score.

    • In the event of a game with multiple events, this helps put all the cards into context.  

  • Captains (You should be getting and writing down the names of the captains when you meet them prior to the match.

  • Detailed Report of the Incident

    • Write write out what happened.

    • Present the facts, without editorializing.

      • e.g. "I saw Mr. Jones punch Mr. Smith.”

    • If you offer an opinion or speculation, please clearly distinguish opinion from fact.

      • e.g. “I think Mr. Smith hit Mr. Jones first, but didn’t see it."  

  • Referee's Proximity

    • Describe how far away you were

    • Describe at what angle you observed the event

  • Other Disciplinary Reports

    • Were there any other YC or RC issued to the player or to anyone else in the game?

    • Were there issues with other team members on the sideline?

Occasionally the disciplinary committee will want to speak with the referee to clarify details. Please respond to them and present the facts to the best of your knowledge

Reporting Referee Abuse

Match Officials should report abuse in a manner that alerts the NERRS Executive Board, and referees should provide documentation of the abuse in a timely manner, preferably within no more than 30 days following the event, to relevant NERRS emails: || ||


  • NERRS is required to report to the Referee and Laws Committee all incidents of Referee Abuse and offenders must be cited using the formal process as outlined by the local Union, SRO, and USA Rugby Disciplinary Procedures.

  • Match Officials may choose to file a report of a crime to local authorities.

  • If a Referee believes that Abuse is not appropriately handled, they can invoke a process through the RLC JO.


Key Components of a Report

  • ABCs - Accuracy, Brevity, Clarity

    • Be ACCURATE - Stick rigidly to the facts of the incident and don't include conjecture; Make sure the stated offense matches the incident described and double-check information.

    • Be BRIEF - The fewest words needed to convey what happened is typically best; Do not give opinions or recommendations.

    • Be CLEAR - Report the incident without confusing or conflicting statements

  • Pertinent Facts

    • Date

    • Teams involved and venue

    • Known identifying information of abuser(s) including names, role for team, and player number

    • Recollection of what was said/done and the surrounding context including time in the game and location.

    • For sideline behavior, whether or not there were technical zones and if TZ rules were followed.


Report - Example




Teams involved and Venue:

XXX Rugby Club at YYY Stadium

Known Identifying Information of Abuser:

John Smith (Player #N)

Best Recollection of Facts and Context: 

Smith repeatedly questioned calls during ongoing match play. To correct this in the first half, I had an informal conversation with XXX's captain to issue a warning and to request that they address their player, and then later in the first half I issued a penalty against Smith since they had failed to correct their behavior. In the second half and following a call that they disagreed with, Smith called me "cheat" and unleashed a stream of obscenities at me. I issued a red card for the behavior.

bottom of page