Discipline Guidance - Veo Footage

The Use of VEO Footage in Disciplinary Cases

At a recent meeting between CB Discipline Secretaries and the RFU Discipline Department it became clear that Veo video footage was increasingly being relied upon to support a particular side’s case in disciplinary hearings. This can work in a number of ways. It may provide clear evidence to support the decision of the referee to issue a red card. Alternatively, it may show that the referee, who only gets one look in real time at what might be a fast moving incident, has got it wrong so that the red card should not be upheld. Inevitably given the nature of the footage there will be instances where it does not assist either way. Recognising these issues the RFU Head of Discipline has issued the following guidance to CBs:

Any club has the ability to use VEO to support their case, in order to challenge a Red Card (RC) or to bring a citing. The Panel have the ability to consider any footage that is sent to them, in accordance with 19.10.11.

19.10.11 A Disciplinary Panel or Appeal Panel shall be entitled to consider footage from any source, including (but not limited to) footage commissioned or obtained by a Referee Society, Referee Group, Match Official or any other person.

It must also be noted that if the Panel are made aware of any footage that could be available but is being withheld by a club then they are able to remind them of 19.10.10.

19.10.10 Where match footage is in the possession or control of the Club or a member of the Club, of which the person, Player or Club appearing before the hearing is a member and, without reasonable excuse, the footage is not produced to the Disciplinary Panel or Appeal Panel the panel shall be entitled to infer that it is unfavourable to the person, Player or Club.

You can also make sure the Club are aware of the need to support any discipline process as set out in 19.1.4

19.1.4 All individuals and entities under the jurisdiction of the RFU are required to cooperate with an RFU (or Constituent Body) disciplinary investigation or disciplinary proceedings….


Role of VEO in Red Card Cases

I am aware of a number of Clubs using VEO to argue that the RC should not have been issued.

The Club are entitled to use that footage as part of their case, however, the Panel must also consider the position and report of the referee. If the footage is not absolutely conclusive in determining if a RC should have been issued then the Panel should ensure they consider 19.5.1

19.5.1 The integrity of the Laws of the Game and the Referee’s position as sole judge of fact and law during a match is unassailable. 

There appears to be a misconception amongst clubs (certainly those at levels we deal with) that if an incident is not shown on the video footage or the footage is inconclusive then the player should be given the benefit of the doubt.

This is absolutely not the position and if the footage is not clear or if the actions cannot be seen on the video, the evidence of the Referee should be given full consideration with the Panel being mindful of 19.5.1.

There was a recent case) that was dealt with by an RFU Appeal Panel in which the video did not show conclusive evidence of head contact (it was an angle behind the tackled player), however, the Panel determined that given the position of the referee and his verbal evidence, there was no grounds to overturn the appeal.

Aside from the visual side of VEO, the audio function has proved extremely useful for MOA cases. Please also remember that there is the ability to move the camera position and if you need any assistance then please let us know.

Panel members who are asked to consider Veo or other forms of video footage will be referred to this guidance. Could you please ensure that the person responsible for dealing with on-field discipline in your club is made aware of the guidance.

Kingsley Hyland

Northumberland RFU Disciplinary Secretary

10th December 2023

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