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Heineken Cup | The Epic Journey

The Epic Journey

Summary of Key Heineken Cup Rules

1. Laws of the Game

1.1 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.

2. Tournament Format

Pool Matches

2.1 Four points for a win, two points for a draw. A bonus point will be awarded to a club scoring four or more tries and to a club losing by seven points or fewer.

2.2 The six pool winners and two best-placed runners-up will qualify for the quarter-finals and will be decided as follows:

(a) The pool winner will be the club with the highest number of match points in each pool. The best-placed runners-up will be the two clubs with the highest number of match points out of the six clubs that finish second in their respective pools. For the quarter-finals, the pool winners will be ranked 1 to 6 and the best-placed runners-up 7 and 8 by reference to the number of match points earned.

(b) If two or more clubs in the same pool are equal on match points, their ranking will be determined by the matches played between the relevant clubs as follows:

(i) the club with the greater number of match points from those matches; or

(ii) if equal, the club that scored the most tries in those matches; or

(iii) if equal, the club with the best aggregate points difference from those matches.

(c) If ranking remains unresolved and/or if clubs have not played each other previously in the pool stage, ranking will be determined as follows:

(i) the number of tries scored in the pool stage; or

(ii) if equal, the best aggregate points difference from the pool stage; or

(iii) if equal, the club with the fewest number of players suspended for incidents in the pool stage; or

(iv) if equal, by drawing lots.

Knockout Stage

2.3 The Clubs ranked 1 to 4 will have home advantage for the quarter-finals as follows:

Club 1 v Club 8
Club 2 v Club 7
Club 3 v Club 6
Club 4 v Club 5

2.4 The semi-finals will be played at a venue 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.

2.5 In the event of a tie at full-time in the quarter-finals, semi-finals or final, extra time of 10 minutes each way will be played. If the scores remain tied, the winner will be determined as follows:

(a) the club that scored the most tries in the match (including extra time) or

(b) if equal, by a place-kick competition.

3. Eligibility of players

3.1 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.

3.2 A club must nominate a squad of between 19 and 23 players for each match.

3.3 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).

3.4 In order to reduce the possibility of uncontested scrums, each club may also nominate further front row players, referred to as 'Emergency Front Row players', who may be registered with ERC on a match-by-match basis provided that all necessary details of the players have been submitted before 12 noon (GMT) on 19 September 2013. The provision for the nomination of Emergency Front Row players is not intended to allow clubs to improve the quality of their squads, and is designed to cater for illness and/or injury in the relevant positions. The players added to squads will typically come from a club's academy or similar.

3.5 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.

3.6 Each club involved in the knockout 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 20 March 2014. The players in question must not have played for another club in the tournament.

3.7 Each club is permitted a maximum of two 'non-European players' in each match squad.

4. Club colours

4.1 For pool matches and quarter-finals, if a club fails to wear the strip designated by ERC and there is a colour clash, that club must change strip. For the semi-finals and final, in the event of a colour clash, the club to change strip will be at ERC's discretion.

5. Anti-Doping Programme

5.1 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.

6. Discipline

6.1 Where reasonably practicable, a player shown a red card will have his case heard within seven days of the relevant match.

6.2 ERC will appoint a Citing Commissioner for each match. The Citing Commissioner will be entitled to cite a player for any acts of Foul Play that warranted the player being shown a red card. 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. The Citing Commissioner will have 50 hours from the start of the match to submit a citing complaint to ERC, although this deadline may be extended in certain circumstances. ERC may refer the complaint to a Citing Officer (also referred to as a 'Gatekeeper') to determine whether it should proceed. The case will then proceed to a disciplinary hearing.

6.3 In accordance with IRB Regulations, a player who has been shown a red card in any non-Heineken Cup match and/or who is the subject of a citing complaint arising out of a non-Heineken Cup match, and who has not had his case heard by his Union or other relevant disciplinary body, shall not be able to participate in a Heineken Cup match.

7. Abandonment

7.1 Where a match is abandoned after 60 minutes or more, the result will stand.

7.2 Where a match is abandoned after fewer than 60 minutes, (a) if both clubs and the ERC Board agree, the result will stand, or (b) the match will be replayed in full no earlier than 48 hours after kick-off of the abandoned match (unless both clubs and ERC agree otherwise), with both clubs entitled to select new teams.

8. Tournament Media Regulation - Team Announcements

8.1 Each club must announce its match squad by 12 noon (GMT) on the Thursday before a Friday match and 12 noon (GMT) on the Friday before a weekend match. The match squad announced must not differ from the squad that plays save in exceptional circumstances. Breaches of the match squad regulations may result in fines being imposed by the Board of ERC.

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