European Professional Rugby Club Appeal of the decision of the disciplinary hearing – Ma’ama Vaipulu

The appeal of the number 8 of the Union Bordeaux-Bègles, Ma’ama Vaipulu, of its suspension of six weeks has been accepted after a disciplinary hearing before an independent Appeal Commission by videoconference today (Thursday 28 d ‘April).

Vaipulu was sent off by referee Wayne Barnes (England) for a dangerous entry into the three-quarters center of the Stade Rochelais Jonathan Danty in the 26th minute of the return match of the round of 16 of his club’s Champions Cup against ‘Stade Rochelais at the Stade Marcel-Deflandre, in violation. of Rule 9.13.

Rule 9.13: A player must not approach an opponent in a dangerous manner.
According to World Rugby regulations, penalties for foul play in breach of Rule 9.13 – dangerous entry – have the following entry points – low grade: 2 weeks; average grade: 6 weeks; upper grade: 10 to 52 weeks.

The red card’s decision was upheld by an independent Disciplinary Committee and Vaipulu was suspended for six weeks.

The Appeals Committee consisting of Antony Davies (England), chairman, Simon Thomas (Wales) and Matthew O’Grady (England), examined the evidence and heard statements from Vaipulu, the legal representative of the player, Ben Cisneros, those of the director of the Union Bordeaux-Bègles team, Dylan Perez, as well as those of Liam McTiernan, EPCR Discipline Officer.

First, the Board of Appeal held that the Disciplinary Board did not err in selecting the average grade for the six-week entry point at the initial hearing.

Second, the appeals committee concluded that the disciplinary committee did not err in adding a week to the player’s sanction, for aggravating circumstances. However, he considered that the Disciplinary Committee had not granted sufficient mitigating circumstances to the player due to his recent disciplinary proceedings.

The appeal was therefore upheld and the appeals committee decided to reduce the suspension by one week, which means Vaipulu is suspended for five weeks.

The date on which Vaipulu will be able to play again will depend on the schedule of the next matches of the Top 14 of the Union Bordeaux Bègles.


(i) Red cards

a) Cases of players expelled from Champions Cup or EPCR Challenge Cup matches will be investigated by an independent Disciplinary Committee or an independent judicial official as soon as possible.

b) Until the disciplinary hearing is called, the affected player will not be able to participate in any competition.

(ii) The citation commissioner

a) The EPCR appoints a summons commissioner for each match of the EPCR Champions Cup and Challenge Cup and is empowered to summon a player for any act of foul play which, in the opinion of the summons commissioner, the citation deserved a red card.

b) For these matches, the clubs do not have the power to nominate a player themselves, but may report an incident to the Summons Commissioner within 26 hours of the start of the match in question.

c) The Summons Commissioner has 50 hours from the start of the match to present his summons. In exceptional circumstances, this period may be extended.

d) The disciplinary officer shall refer the summons in question to a summoning officer who shall determine whether there are sufficient grounds for summoning a player to a disciplinary hearing.

e) The disciplinary officer will present the case against the player.

(iii) The Disciplinary Hearing

a) The President of the Independent Disciplinary Tribunal, Mike Hamlin, selects the Independent Disciplinary Tribunal or the Independent Judicial Officer.

b) The EPCR disciplinary officer presents the case against the player.

c) If the decision is upheld, the Disciplinary Commission or the Judicial Officer will decide the appropriate sanction. According to the World Rugby sanctions scale, which the EPCR must observe, the bailiff will first assess the seriousness of the player’s performance and determine which of the three entry points (low grade, middle grade, higher grade) corresponds.

d) The Disciplinary Commission or the Judicial Officer will determine the appropriate entry point after evaluating various aspects of the player’s gesture, specifically whether the gesture was intentional or not, whether or not it caused injury, and whether it affected or not the game. .

e) Once the point of entry has been determined, the Disciplinary Commission or Judicial Officer will decide whether the period of suspension should be extended from the point of entry to reflect specific aggravating factors such as a poor disciplinary record, or as a deterrent, and / or to reduce the suspension at the point of entry for mitigating factors, such as the player’s conviction, good disciplinary record or player conduct during the hearing, and for expressing remorse .

f) A suspension is a systematic ban on playing rugby anywhere in the world. Players are suspended on the assumption that a one-week period will usually result in a player losing a game. Suspensions take into account periods of inactivity (such as low season), periods when the player is injured or unfit to play, and also when the player is unavailable or unselected. Suspensions should also take into account off-season matches that are not considered important or that are not close enough to the start of the season to be a determining factor in a player’s future selection.

g) The two parties participating in the hearing (EPCR and the player) have the right to appeal the decision taken at the independent disciplinary hearing. The appealing party must do so within three (3) business days of receiving written notice of the decision of the Disciplinary Commission or the Judicial Officer.

h) The full resolution will be available on the website when the sanctioning procedure ends.

i) For the World Rugby foul play penalty schedule set out in Appendix 1 to World Rugby Rule 17, go to

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