Erasmus banned from all rugby activity with immediate effect
Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has been banned from all rugby activity for two months with immediate effect following a disciplinary hearing after he was charged with misconduct during the Test series versus the British and Irish Lions. He has also been banned from any involvement on a matchday until September 30 next year, while SA Rugby must pay a fine of £20,000. Both Erasmus and SA Rugby must also apologise for their actions.
Erasmus is currently in London ahead of Saturday’s Autumn Nations Series match versus England having sat in the coaches box versus Wales and then run water to the Springboks players during last Saturday’s game against Scotland. Those are activities Erasmus now won’t be able to do again until late next year.
In a statement released on Wednesday evening, World Rugby reported: “An independent misconduct committee has found that behaviour displayed by SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus towards match officials during this year’s Test series between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions constituted misconduct.
“The committee was chaired by Christopher Quinlan QC, together with Nigel Hampton QC and Judge Mike Mika (both New Zealand). Six charges were brought by World Rugby against Rassie 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;
- Attacked, disparaged and/or denigrated the game and the match officials;
- Did not accept or observe the authority and decisions of match officials;
- Published or caused to be published criticism of the manner in which a match official handled a match;
- Engaged in conduct or activity that may impair public confidence in the integrity and good character of match official(s); and
- Brought the game into disrepute when he published or caused to be published the Erasmus video.
"My reputation as a referee and person will forever be tarnished"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 18, 2021
“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. 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 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.
“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 the first charge against SA Rugby proved. Having considered submissions on behalf of both parties in respect of sanction, the independent committee decided on the following:
- Suspension with immediate effect from all rugby activities for two months;
- Suspension from all match-day activities (including coaching, contact with match officials, and media engagement) with immediate effect until September 30, 2022;
- A warning as to his future conduct and an apology to the relevant match officials.
- A fine of £20,000;
- A warning as to future conduct and an apology to the relevant match officials.
The parties have seven days to appeal from receipt of the full written decision. Click here for the full 80-page written judgment. SA Rugby has since issued a brief statement. It read: “SA Rugby and Rassie Erasmus have noted the decision of World Rugby’s judicial committee. Both parties confirmed they will exercise their rights to appeal the verdicts. Neither party will make any further comment until the process is complete.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 18, 2021
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