Judicial Committee hearing – Friday 2nd May 2008
Offices of Ms Cheok Sankaran Halim, BSB
Panel – Roy Prabhakaran (Chairman), Simon Harris, Garry Anderson
Ainol Razman on behalf of BRFU
Johannas Hickey – Tournament Director
Dinie, Ijan and Malie on behalf of Knights RFU
To consider: Motion by the BRFU to revoke a rule of an ongoing tournament/competition and replace that rule with a new rule.
As a preliminary issue all present confirmed that they did not have any objections to the constitution of the panel nor the jurisdiction of the panel.
This motion was borne out of repercussions from a tournament game that the Knights RFC forfeited against KB Pythons RFC on 26th April 2008.
Various things happened with accusations of cheating being leveled against Knights RFC which, understandably, ultimately led to the Knights RFC withdrawing themselves from the tournament.
Parties took it upon themselves to resolve the problems in respect of the Knights withdrawal and we are glad to be informed that apologies have been issued, the Knights have withdrawn their withdrawal from the competition and the tournament director and BRFU have accepted this. Therefore the Knights are duly reinstated in the tournament.
What the forfeit did bring to light is the fact that the BRFU felt that the present rules in respect of forfeiting games was open to abuse by teams that may have assured themselves of semi final play offs. Such intentional forfeits, although not affecting these teams, it is claimed, may have an adverse impact on teams that may still be in with a chance for semi final play off places.
Various possibilities were put forward by the BRFU in support of proving that such adverse repercussions were real in the event of an abuse of the present rule by way of an intentional forfeit. Based on these possibilities, the BRFU felt that the rule in this respect needed to be revoked and/or amended in an attempt to pre-empt any possible abuse. They moved us under IRB rule 20.1.8 i.e. to prevent the game from being brought into disrepute.
As was pointed out to the BRFU, we do not doubt that teams could abuse the rules but felt that we were confident that teams were mature enough not to do such things. We further felt that the BRFU could, in the event a team intentionally abuses these rules, refer the team to a Judicial Panel for sanction. We however reminded the BRFU that any accusation would be serious and needed cogent proof.
We felt that the possibilities put forward by the BRFU were pure conjecture. We felt that the rules were prepared prior to the teams registering for the tournament and that to change the rules midway would be wrong.
We take into consideration that rugby is developing in Brunei and that this tournament is in its infancy. We are therefore aware to the possibility of there being shortfalls in the rules. Tournament organizers will learn from these experiences and quite correctly make the necessary adjustments for future tournaments. We certainly did not feel that wholesale changes mid way through a tournament would lend credibility to the tournament. We therefore dismissed the BRFU’s motion.
In passing we felt that it was necessary to comment about teams/players/members leveling accusations of cheating against another team on the internet. May we take this opportunity to remind everyone involved in rugby that such accusations, which we feel may be “coffee shop” talk, when posted on the internet are very serious matters which actually bring the game into disrepute. We would therefore urge members and players to refrain from publicly making adverse accusations of another team and/or player unless they are absolutely serious about it.
We are thankful to all parties for their attendance at very short notice.