Red Card takes centre stage in Bilbao
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The consistency of the Red card was one of the vital topics discussed at the European Champions Cup Disciplinary Conference in Bilbao ahead of the start of the tournament.
Over 100 delegates, including Judicial Officers and Citing Commissioners from throughout Europe, met in the Spanish city to discuss some of club rugby's key issues, with the shared objective to achieve greater consistency in refereeing and judicial decisions.
The conference presented a rare opportunity for stakeholders to come together to share their experiences, knowledge and thoughts on how effective the system is in attaining uniformity in the judicial process.
"I think it (the Red Card test) is the right test. I think it brings consistency to the approach as far as foul play is concerned and it is a working test - it works, " World Rugby Judicial Panel Chairman Christopher Quinlan said.
"We have a seamless game, from the amateur game to the Rugby World Cup Final. It is very important that discipline is consistent throughout in its application and that's why it's important having a session like this at European level. It's great for us at World Rugby to see how it's done, see how it's on message and in-line with what we are doing internationally," he added.
RFU Head of Discipline David Barnes believes that this type of get-togethers is essential in the pursuit of consistency across the board.
"Two referees, Joël Jutge and Alain Rolland, went through all the citing discussions from the past season. We looked at what we thought was red, what we thought wasn't red, and by the end of the session we were all aligned, which means consistency for players which is the most important thing and why Citing Commissioners make the decisions they do.
"I think these sessions are essential. We all come from different countries and do things slightly differently but to come together, recalibrate and understand where we're all at is essential for the consistency of the process.
"Players want to understand, and want to know what happens to them in one game will happen in another, if it doesn't they get confused, and frustrated. For them to know we're at events like these, whether they're in France, England, Ireland - it's about consistency,"