The Tournament will be played in accordance with the IRB's Laws of the Game of Rugby Union (as amended from time to time), as varied or supplemented by ERC.
1(a) Pool Matches
Four points for a win, two points for a draw (match points). A bonus point will be earned by a team scoring four or more tries and by a team losing by seven or less points. The six pool winners and two best placed runners-up will qualify for the quarter-finals and will be decided by the following criteria:
(i) the pool winner will be the club with the highest number of match points earned in each pool. The runners-up will be the two second placed clubs from all six pools with the next highest number of points. For the quarter-final round, the pool winners will be ranked 1 - 6 in terms of the number of points earned. The runners-up will be ranked 7 and 8.
The knock-out stages of the Amlin Challenge Cup tournament will include three clubs who will qualify from the Heineken Cup.
The introduction of three clubs who have finished as the third, fourth and fifth pool runners-up in that season's Heineken Cup into the quarter-finals along with the five Amlin Challenge Cup pool winners will enhance both the quality and profile of the Amlin Challenge Cup knock-out matches.
The top four Amlin Challenge Cup pool winners will have home advantage in the quarter-finals with the highest-ranked pool winner playing the fifth-ranked pool winner, and the other three pool winners playing Heineken Cup clubs.
Quarter-finals qualification if clubs are equal:
Clubs in the same pool
(ii) if clubs are equal on points and the clubs are in the same pool, then qualification/ranking will be based on the two matches played between the clubs concerned:
(a) the club which has earned the most number of match points from the two matches (four points for a win, two points for a draw and bonus points).
(b) the club which has scored the most tries in the two matches.
(c) the club with the best aggregate points difference from the two matches.
Clubs from different pools (if still unresolved)
(iii) if the clubs have not played each other previously in the pool stage, qualification/ranking will be based on:
(a) the number of tries scored in all pool matches.
(b) aggregate points difference from all pool matches.
(c) the club with the fewest number of players sent off and/or suspended in all pool matches.
(d) toss of a coin.
Clubs ranked 1 - 4 will have home advantage. The Quarter-Finals will be:
Club 1 v Club 8; Club 2 v Club 7; Club 3 v Club 6; Club 4 v Club 5
1(b) Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Final
(i) the Semi-Finals will be played at venues designated by ERC, with the opponents in each match determined by a draw conducted by ERC. The Final will be played at a venue designated by ERC.
(ii) in the event of a tie at full-time in the Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Final, extra time of 20 minutes (10 minutes each way) will be played.
(iii) if the result is still unresolved the winner will be decided by the following criteria:
(a) the club which has scored the most tries in that match, including extra time.
(b) place-kick competition to determine the winner.
2. Eligibility of Players
(i) Each club must nominate a squad of up to 38 players. A minimum of 10 of the players nominated by the club must be capable of playing in front row forward positions. All such players must, on registration, be fully and properly registered with their club and Union and available to play for the club from that date.
(ii) A club must nominate a squad of between 19 and 23 players for each match.
(iii) A minimum of six front row players must be included in each match squad such that on the first occasion that a replacement is required in each position, a replacement can be made. Where uncontested scrums are ordered due to the departure of a front row player and there is no suitable replacement, the player whose departure caused the uncontested scrums may not be replaced (i.e. the club will be required to play with 14 players).
(iv) Each club may register up to two additional players during the pool stage, each to replace a player previously registered. If a club registers two additional players, one such player must be a front row player. Additional players must have a three-month contract with the club and must not have played for another club in the tournament. Additional player registrations must be submitted by 12 noon (GMT) on the Tuesday before the match. De-registered players may be re-registered (in place of the relevant additional players) during the pool stage.
(v) Each club involved in the knock-out stage may register up to three further players. If a club registers three further players, one such player must be a front row player. Such registrations must be submitted by 12 noon (GMT) on 21 March 2013. The further players must not have played for another club in the tournament.
(vi) Each club is permitted a maximum of two "foreign players" in each match squad.
(vii) Where illness and/or injury dictates, clubs may register emergency front row players on a match-by-match basis pursuant to ERC's regulations.
3. Club Colours
(i) For Pool matches and quarter-finals, in the event of a colour clash, the away club will change jerseys. For the semi-finals and final in the event of a colour clash the club selected to change jersey will be by toss of a coin.
4. Anti-Doping programme
(i) Players will be subject to doping control as set out in ERC's Anti-Doping Programme, which is based on and subject to Regulation 21 (Anti-Doping) of the IRB Regulations.
(i) the case of any player sent off shall be adjudicated upon by an independent Disciplinary Committee.
(ii) Citing commissioners are appointed by ERC for all Heineken Cup and all televised Amlin Challenge Cup matches and are entitled to make a citing complaint against a player for any act of foul play that, in the citing commissioner's opinion, warranted a red card. For such matches, clubs do not have the power to make a citing complaint against a player but may refer incidents to the citing commissioner.
The citing commissioner ordinarily has 50 hours from the start of the match to make a citing complaint and the determination of the citing commissioner is final and binding. The Disciplinary Officer may forward any citing complaint to a citing officer (or 'gatekeeper') to determine whether there are sufficient grounds for the citing complaint to proceed. If a citing complaint is to proceed, the Disciplinary Officer will then bring a complaint against the cited player before an independent judicial officer.
(i) when a match is abandoned after 60 minutes of play (after 20 minutes of the second half) the result will stand.
(ii) when a match is abandoned with less than 60 minutes played, the match should be replayed in full after 48 hours with both clubs allowed to name new teams. If both clubs agree the match may be played sooner than 48 hours. If both clubs agree, and subject to ERC Board approval, the score of a game abandoned with less than 60 minutes played may stand as the result.