UK IGR LEAGUE RULES AND 2019/20

International Gay Rugby (IGR)

IGR is an organisation of member clubs of primarily gay and inclusive rugby clubs. We are a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, registered in England and Wales with our registered office at 71 Holland Road, West Ham, London, E15 3BP, England, United Kingdom (Charity Number – 1154241).

The aim of the IGR is to promote equality and diversity, in particular the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or identification and to promote good health through the playing of rugby

Document Scope

This document lays out the administration and rules for the International Gay Rugby (IGR) leagues in the United Kingdom (UK) for the 2019/20 season.

UK IGR League

The emphasis of the UK IGR leagues is the development of teams and players in a safe, competitive environment.

In the 2019/20 season, there will be two leagues in the UK;

  • UK IGR Southern League, this will cover the south of England and Wales; and,
  • UK IGR Northern League, this will cover the north of England and Scotland.

The UK IGR League Committee are committed to ensuring that the core values of the sport (Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship) are maintained throughout the whole season. As a condition of membership to the UK IGR Leagues, all Clubs shall be required to sign a Code of Conduct at the beginning of each season. Every effort should be made by all participating teams to ensure that all games are played, with teams understanding that within the IGR league there can be a large variation in the ability of players.

UK IGR League Committee

The IGR league committee is made up of the IGR Europe Trustee, the three UK IGR Regional Representatives, a league secretary and a representative for each league (Northern and Southern).

  • IGR Europe Trustee: Dean Bee
  • IGR UK Regional Representatives: Adam Harrison, Chris Thomas and Karl Ainscough-Gates.
  • IGR League Secretary: Simon Chapman
  • IGR Northern League Representative: Chris Berry
  • IGR Southern League Representative: Lee Penfold

UK IGR League Rules

Rule 1         All games to be played in accordance with the laws of the game as laid down by the RFU for the 2019/20 season. ‘Game On’ principles have been included in RFU law, where necessary these can be applied to matches in the UK IGR leagues.

Rule 2         All Clubs to use society and association referees (wherever possible).

Rule 3         At the start of each season, teams should submit a full club squad team roster to the UK IGR league secretary. This should detail who is going to play for the team in the forthcoming season, changes to this player roster can be made up until 11am on a matchday. Teams will also be issued with a ‘Matchday Review Sheet’ which they will be required to complete and send to the league secretary after each match, as per the results section below.

UK IGR league committee reserves the right to check if a player is a paying member of the club in question, should a complaint be made. See also Rule 11 & Rule 22.

Rule 4         The UK IGR League Committee shall decide the structure of the leagues and the number of teams in each league.

Rule 5         Each team will play one fixture against every other club in the league in which they are competing. The location of the fixtures (home/away) will be determined by the IGR League Committee. When a fixture is played at home in one season, the same fixture will be played away in the following season.

Rule 6         The exact dates of the fixtures will be organised by representatives of each club. The UK IGR League Committee will provide a month for that fixture to be played in. All games are to be rearranged if the grounds are unfit.

All clubs are to provide a copy of their full fixtures list to the UK IGR league secretary as soon as is possible, ideally no later than 31st July of each season.

Rule 7         Following the conclusion of all UK IGR league matches, a Finals Day will be held for each UK IGR league. Hosting of a divisional Finals Day will be rotated around the respective clubs in that league. Prior to the season beginning, each team will be able to bid to host their leagues Finals Day. From the bidding teams, a random draw will be made by the UK IGR league committee. The Finals Day will be held after both leagues have finished.

The champions of each Finals Day, become the champions of the UK IGR league in which they have competed. They will receive a trophy to keep, medals will be presented to the losing finalists.

A memo describing the format of the Final Day will be released to inform clubs.

Rule 8         A ‘Grand Final’ game between the champions of the Northern and Southern UK IGR leagues will be played, resulting in that winner becoming the UK IGR Champion.

The winner of the Grand Final will receive a trophy to keep for a year, that will then be presented to the next winners. Medals will also be provided for both teams in the Grand Finals to keep.

Prior to the season beginning, each team will be able to bid to host the Grand Final. Any club hosting either a divisional Finals Day or previous Grand Final hosts won’t be considered to host that season’s Grand Final to ensure the showpiece occasions are rotated around the country.

Rule 9         To cover the cost of medals, trophies and league administration a fee of £15 will be charged to each team participating in the UK IGR leagues. A payment deadline of 15th September shall be set for all teams. Any team failing to pay before this deadline may face a discretionary points penalty. IGR will hold the funds on behalf of the league.

Rule 10

  1. An open number of replacements can be agreed by both captains and referee before the commencement of the game. If agreement cannot be agreed a maximum of 8 NOMINATED replacements will apply.
  2. Rolling Subs to be allowed in all leagues. An unlimited number of changes will be allowed.
  3. If a game goes uncontested for any reason the opposition do NOT need to remove a player.

Rule 11       A player joining an IGR club, having not previously been a member of an IGR club, is permitted to play in an IGR league match as long as they have been added to their clubs’ roster by the match cut off deadline. The league committee will generally accept all new player nominations. However, it reserves the right to look retrospectively at a players’ registration in the case of complaint over a club artificially strengthening their team for a fixture. The league committee will look at the player in question with regard to future IGR match involvement to determine whether the club is in breach of

Rule 22 All players are expected to be paying members of their respective clubs. Should a club be low on players for a particular fixture, then rather than searching for FYB/BASS players to fill those gaps, they should at first speak to their opposition as per ‘Game On’ and look to use any extra players they may have available, or play a lowered number fixture.

Rule 12       A player changing from one IGR club to another can represent their new club immediately, assuming they have no outstanding debts with the previous club and no justifiable objection to the transfer taking place. The league committee would confirm the transfer from one team roster to the other.

Rule 13       FOUR points will be awarded for a win.

TWO points will be awarded to each team for a draw.

ZERO point to be awarded for a defeat, however ONE losing bonus point is awarded to a team that loses a match by 7 points or fewer.

ONE additional bonus point will be awarded to any side that scores four tries or more in a match.

Rule 14       Uncontested Scrums:

  1. Before a game commences if there is a shortage of front row players, the game starts with uncontested scrums. Should a team unable to field a front row win the match they will receive 2 POINTS MAXIMUM for the win. Should the team with a full front row win, they will be awarded FULL POINTS as per Rule 13. The losing side receives ZERO point as per Rule 13.
  2. If a game goes into uncontested scrums after the start normal rules apply, winner takes FOUR points, loser takes ZERO points.
  3. A draw in a game with uncontested scrums from the start, TWO points each.
  4. All games involved in uncontested scrums MUST be reported to the UK IGR league secretary.
  5. Bonus points will be awarded to both teams as normal.

Rule 15       All games will start with a minimum of TEN players per side. There will be no more than a ONE player advantage to any team at the start of a game. A minimum of 5 (FIVE) players must be supplied by every team and a team supplying less than TEN players can only receive 2 points in the event of victory. In a situation where a team has less than TEN players the Captains must agree the exchange of players before the game begins.

Should there be a failure to agree then the team responsible for the failure to agree shall forfeit the game. The points awarded on such failure shall be 4 points for the innocent team and 0 points for the team responsible for the failure.

Failure to supply a minimum of 5 players will result in a concede, unless a game can be rearranged and agreed by both teams. Please note that teams who turn up with a full squad of 20 will be allowed to use all players.

This rule has been increased from NINE players in 2018/19 to reflect the ‘Game On’ principles.

Rule 16       Any side unable to fulfil a fixture for any reason other than the weather forfeits the game, except under exceptional circumstances and agreed by the UK IGR league committee. Exceptional requests must be submitted to the IGR league representative as soon as the problem arises. Each case will be dealt with individually by the UK IGR league committee.

Rule 17       League position shall be determined by league points awarded.

At the end of the season should the league winners be equal;

  1. The team with least concedes takes senior position, should this be equal;
  2. The team with the most points scored takes senior position, should this be equal;
  3. The team with the least points against takes senior position, should this be equal;
  4. The winning team in the league match of the two teams takes senior position, should this be equal;
  5. A toss of a coin will decide the league winner.

Rule 18       Any game abandoned or player given a red card must be referred to the relevant UK IGR league secretary by 2100hrs of the day the match took/was due to take place by both teams. The time, score and reason for abandonment are all to be reported. Home clubs are also responsible for getting the referee to fill in a completed ‘Fair Play’ scoring card. Both captains are to sign the card (AFTER the referee has completed it) and send the card image to the league secretary alongside the match result sheet. Home clubs will be supplied with enough cards to fulfil all their home fixtures by the league committee.

There will be an award at the Grand Final to the club with the best ‘Fair Play’ card record.

Rule 19          The home team will change strip in the event of a colour clash.

Rule 20          Concedes:

  1. A team that concedes THREE games in the course of a season will be expelled immediately and their records expunged.
  2. If a club’s higher team is expelled all their teams below that team will have to leave the league as well.
  3. When a team’s records are expunged any conceded games against that team will be expunged as well.

Rule 21       Any team expelled from the league for any reason will not automatically be re-admitted the following season.

Rule 22       In the event that the UK IGR league committee become aware that

  1. a member club has materially misled or deceived them to gain an advantage; or,
  2. they are in breach of the Code of Conduct referred to in Rule 1.

The UK IGR league committee reserves the right to impose such disciplinary action as they deem fit including expulsion from the league. If any member of the league committee belongs to the club under investigation, they shall be exempt from the disciplinary process.

Rule 23       The league committee reserves the right to deduct 4 points from any team not having paid its membership fee or returned its “Code of Conduct” form by 15th September of the current season.

Clubs are also asked to prominently display the Code of Conduct to all their members and ensure they are all fully aware of and abide by its contents.

Rule 24       Confirmation of fixtures should be made as per RFU competitions with the away side confirming the game and Kick Off time. It is suggested that times be as follows. 3.00pm Sept/Oct/Mar/Apr, 2.15pm Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb.

By agreement between the teams Kick Off times can vary from those suggested.

Clubs should send their full fixture list to the league secretary by 31st July.

Rule 25       The UK IGR league committee reserves the right to add, amend or remove any aspect of the rules and administration throughout the season as it feels appropriate. This needs to be proposed by a committee member, discussed by the committee and voted on. A majority of the committee must agree to impose any changes

UK IGR League Conduct

The UK IGR league committee expects the highest standards of discipline from all participating Clubs, their players, officials, members and spectators. All breaches will be dealt with by the appropriate County Disciplinary Committee in accordance with the RFU’s Disciplinary Regulations, which are set out in the RFU Handbook and are on the RFU website. A County Disciplinary Committee has jurisdiction to deal with, and impose sanctions for, the following disciplinary offences:

  • Sending offs, where a player has been dismissed from the field of play by the referee. In all such cases, the referee must, within 48 hours after the end of the match, send a completed copy of the sending off report to the Secretary of the appropriate County Disciplinary Committee and to their own Referees’ Society or Organisation.
  • Abuse of a match official, where a player, Club official or member is reported by a match official for abuse during the game or after it while they are still on or at a Club’s premises. Again, a written report should be completed by the match official and sent to the persons named in (i) above within 7 days from the day of the match.
  • Citings by a Club or an Accredited Referee Assessor/ Advisor, i.e. where a player is alleged to have committed an act of foul play but has not been sent off for that act. In such case, a written citing complaint must be made to the appropriate County Disciplinary Secretary and received by him not later than the first post on the 14th day immediately following the match in which the incident took place. Clubs should note that this time limit cannot be extended under any circumstances and the full Citing Procedures are set out in Appendix 7 of the RFU’s Disciplinary Regulations.
  • Breach of Rule 5.12 of the Rules of the RFU, i.e. any words or conduct of any kind, which is prejudicial to the interests of the Union or the game. Such a breach may be by a Club, a team, an individual player, an official or member. Clubs should note that, although a County Disciplinary Committee may not have jurisdiction to sanction a spectator, who is not a member of a Club, the Club itself is responsible for controlling the behaviour, and ensuring the good conduct, of its spectators. Thus, a Club itself may be sanctioned for the misconduct of a non-member spectator. Any complaint relating to a breach of Rule 5.12 must be in writing and made to the appropriate County Disciplinary Secretary within a reasonable time. Any Club or individual, whether a member of a Club or not, may make such a complaint.
  • Bad disciplinary record. Clubs should note that where players from or other members of a Club or people linked to a Club appear before a Disciplinary Committee (which includes a Club Disciplinary Committee and, thus, junior players) on more than 5 separate occasions in any one season, then that Club may be deemed to have a bad disciplinary record and sanctions may then be imposed on the Club itself or any of its teams.

UK IGR League Results

Following all UK IGR league matches, match results (including any try bonus points) should be reported to the UK IGR league secretary by 2100hrs on the day of the match. All scores must be checked with the referee. A representative from each participating team should communicate the result by email or text message to the following contact details. Additionally, all clubs should send an image of their completed ‘Match Result Sheet’ and ‘Fair Play’ card by 5pm the day after the match. Ideally these should be sent by the first deadline.

Should results not be communicated back to the UK IGR league secretary by the deadline, the IGR league committee reserves the right to penalise the offending team. The results and updated league positions will then be posted on to www.inclusiverugby.com. These results may also be shared on the International Gay Rugby Clubhouse Facebook page and other social media channels.

UK IGR League Disputes

While it is not our intention to be too regulatory in respect of the leagues, it is important that we uphold the rules strictly, in order for the leagues to run smoothly and with the least instances of controversy. Disputes, feedback and complaints should be reported to the league representative, who will present the scenario to the UK IGR league committee.

The committee will discuss the scenario and feedback/impose a penalty as appropriate. The league committee reserves the right to impose any penalty that they feel is appropriate following a discussion and a vote by committee members. A majority of the committee must agree to impose a penalty, with the Europe Trustee having the deciding vote should a majority not be found. Should a committee member be a member of a club that is being penalised, this committee member will not have a vote in that scenario.