Ask the Ref - Penalising Deceptive Play

James Jones answers a second question... following the 'bloodgate' incident, what penalties can a ref impose upon a player deliberately seeking to deceive?


"Following the notorious ‘bloodgate’ incident, referee Nigel Owens stated, ‘If I had seen the footage of Williams spitting blood and winking as he left the field I would have taken further action’.

My question is, what penalties can a referee impose during a game if he believes he has been deliberately deceived by a player in relation to such an attempted blood replacement?" 


In such an instance there are no set sanctions for any player acting in such a way. However should a referee decide to 'investigate further' any alleged blood replacement and find there is 'fake' blood or indeed no blood then he has the choice of dealing with it in the following ways depending upon how s/he interprets the severity:

S/he can either advise the player may leave the field for an injury, however it will not be for a blood injury and carry on the game accordingly.

S/he can advise the above and also penalise the player under law 10.4(l) acts contrary to good sportsmanship. In which case a penalty would be awarded to the opposition at the point the game would next re-start.

S/he can penalise that player, again under law 10.4(l) and issue that player with a yellow card (temporary suspension)

S/he can penalise that player and issue a red card again under law 10.4(l).

However there is no 'set' sanction for such an incident and it is up to the individual referee to take action as they see fit depending upon how severe they deem the incident.