Law 10.4(j) Lifting a player from the ground and either dropping or driving that player's head and/or upper body into the ground while the player's feet are off the ground
Under the IRB Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4(j) carries the following sanction entry points: Low End: 4 weeks; Mid Range: 8 weeks; Top End: 12 to 52 weeks
The independent Judicial Officer, Rod McKenzie (Scotland), heard evidence and submissions from Mafi - who both pleaded not guilty to the offence and challenged the red card decision - from Perpignan's legal representative, Pierre Becque, and from ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor.
The Judicial Officer upheld the red card decision and determined that the tackle was at the low end of the IRB's sanctioning regime (four weeks). Taking into account Mafi's previous disciplinary record and the IRB's memorandum on deterring dangerous tackles of this nature, the Judicial Officer added a further two weeks.
Given the player's plea of not guilty, there were no mitigating factors, and the Judicial Officer imposed a suspension of six (6) weeks.
As Mafi is not scheduled to play for Perpignan during two weekends in November, he will not be free to play until Monday, 9 December.
Both the player and ERC have the right to appeal the decision
Two-week suspension for Devoto
The Bath Rugby replacement, Ollie Devoto (No 22), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin today (Thursday, 17 October 2013) arising from the Amlin Challenge Cup Round 1 match against Bordeaux-Bègles on Saturday, 12 October.
Devoto was alleged to have struck the Bordeaux-Bègles wing, Blair Connor (No 11), with his head during the second half of the Pool 2 match at Stade Chaban-Delmas.
The complaint was made by the match Citing Commissioner, Eugene Ryan (Ireland).
Law 10.4(a) Punching or striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee(s)
Under the IRB Sanctions for Foul Play (striking with the head), Law 10.4(a) carries the following penalties: Low End: 4 weeks; Mid Range: 10 weeks; Top End: 16 to 52 weeks.
The independent Judicial Officer, Rod McKenzie (Scotland), heard evidence and submissions from Devoto, who pleaded guilty to the offence, from Richard Smith QC, from Bath Director of Rugby, Gary Gold, and from ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor.
The Judicial Officer found that the offence was at the low end of the IRB's sanctioning regime (4 weeks) and as there were no aggravating factors, and as Devoto has a clean disciplinary record, he reduced the sanction by 50 per cent and imposed a suspension of two (2) weeks.
Devoto is free to play on Monday, 28 October 2013 and both the player and ERC have the right to appeal the decision.
(i) Red Cards
a) The case of any player sent off in Heineken Cup or Amlin Challenge Cup games shall be adjudicated by an independent Judicial Officer as soon as is practicable.
b) Until the hearing the player is ineligible to play in any tournament.
(ii) Citing Commissioner
a) Citing Commissioners are appointed by ERC for all Heineken Cup and all televised Amlin Challenge Cup matches and shall be entitled to cite a player for any act or acts of Foul Play that in the Citing Commissioner's opinion warranted a red card.
b) For such matches, clubs will not have the power to cite a player but may refer incidents to the Citing Commissioner within 26 hours of the start of the match.
c) The Citing Commissioner will have 50 hours from the start of the match to make a citing. In certain circumstances this deadline can be extended.
d) The ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor, may forward the submitted citing to a Citing Officer to determine whether there are sufficient grounds for the citing to progress.
e) The Disciplinary Officer will then bring a charge against the cited player.
(iii) Disciplinary Hearing
a) The independent Judicial Officer is chosen by the chairman of the independent Disciplinary Panel, Professor Lorne Crerar.
b) ERC's Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor, presents the case against the player.
c) If a citing complaint is upheld, the independent Judicial Officer will be required to consider the appropriate sanction. Under the IRB's sanctioning regime, which ERC is obliged to follow, the Judicial Officer will first assess the seriousness of the player's actions and determine which of the three stipulated entry points (lower end, mid range and top end) is the most appropriate.
d) The Judicial Officer will determine the appropriate entry point based on his/her assessment of a number of particular characteristics of the player's actions, including whether or not they were intentional, whether or not they caused any injuries and whether or not they had any effect on the relevant match.
e) After deciding the entry point, the Judicial Officer will then consider whether the suspension should be increased from the entry point to take account of certain specified aggravating factors, such as a poor disciplinary record or the need for deterrence, and/or decreased from the entry point to take account of certain specified mitigating actions, such as a guilty plea, a good disciplinary record, the player's conduct at the hearing and expressions of remorse.
d) A suspension is a blanket ban from playing rugby union anywhere in the world.
e) Both parties to the hearing (ERC and the player) have the right to appeal decisions of the independent Disciplinary Hearing. Appeals must be lodged within three (3) working days of receiving the full written decision of the Judicial Officer.
f) The full written decision of the Judicial Officer will be available on http://www.ercrugby.com/eng/discipline/newswhen the disciplinary process is complete
g) For IRB Sanctions for Foul Play, found at Appendix 1 to IRB Regulation 17, please go to www.irb.com