BREAKING: Rassie found guilty of misconduct
An independent committee has found SA Rugby Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus guilty of misconduct towards match officials during the series between the Springboks and British & Irish Lions.
Erasmus and SA Rugby were charged by the world governing body after Erasmus’ 62-minute video.
In the video, Erasmus criticised Australian referee Nic Berry and his officiating for their performance in the Springboks’ 17-22 defeat in the first Test against the British and Irish Lions in July.
Erasmus and SA Rugby fronted up to a World Rugby hearing on October 30 and 31 and the verdict was finally announced on Wednesday.
Six charges were brought by World Rugby against Erasmus for various breaches of World Rugby Regulation 18 and World Rugby’s Code of Conduct.
The charges, in summary, were that Erasmus:
- Threatened a match official that unless a requested meeting took place, he would publish footage containing clips criticising the match official’s performance and then making good on that threat; published or permitted to be published the Erasmus Video containing numerous comments that were either abusive, insulting and/or offensive to match officials.
2. Attacked, disparaged and/or denigrated the game and the match officials;
3. Did not accept or observe the authority and decisions of match officials;
4. Published or caused to be published criticism of the manner in which a match official handled a match;
5. Engaged in conduct or activity that may impair public confidence in the integrity and good character of match official(s);
6. And brought the game into disrepute when he published or caused to be published the Erasmus Video.
Having considered all the evidence, including oral evidence from the match officials, Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby, World Rugby, and submissions from the parties the committee found all six charges against Erasmus proved.
As a result, Erasmus has been suspended with immediate effect from all rugby activities for two months
He has been banned from coaching activities (coaching box, media activities, contact with match officials) until September 2022.
Erasmus has also been handed a warning as to his future conduct and an apology to the relevant match officials.
Meanwhile, two charges were brought by World Rugby against SA Rugby in accordance with World Rugby Regulation 18 and the World Rugby Code of Conduct.
In summary, the charges were that SA Rugby did not ensure that Rassie Erasmus complied with the World Rugby Code of Conduct and/or permitted Erasmus to commit acts of misconduct; and/or did not publicly correct any comments or publications by or on behalf of Erasmus that amounted to misconduct; and permitted and/or did not prevent Siya Kolisi and Mzwandile Stick to make comments at a press conference on July 30, 2021 that were not disciplined or sporting and adversely affected the game of rugby; and/or did not publicly correct any such comments so as adversely affected the game of rugby.
SA Rugby has been handed s fine of £20,000 and a warning as to future conduct and an apology to the relevant match officials
Both parties have seven days to appeal from receipt of the full written decision.
The committee was chaired by Christopher Quinlan QC, together with Nigel Hampton QC and Judge Mike Mika (both New Zealand).
The full written decision is available here.