Player 23: IRB takes action

Should players found guilty of eye gouging receive longer suspensions?

p231At the moment, the entry-point ban is 12 weeks (Schalk Burger and Italy captain Sergio Parisse both got eight after pleading mitigating circumstances), but this could soon change.

In a press release on Wednesday, the IRB announced that it is investigating measures to ensure that eye gouging is eradicated from the game.

‘The IRB is firmly of the view that there is no place in rugby for illegal or foul play and the act of eye gouging is particularly heinous,’ said the statement.

‘In light of recent high profile cases, the IRB is launching a review of the existing disciplinary sanction structure relating to contact with the eye/eye area in order to send out the strongest possible message that such acts of illegal/foul play will not be tolerated and have no place in a game that has at its core the pillars of fair play, respect and camaraderie.

‘The IRB has also written to the chairman of the IRB judicial panel to underscore its concerns regarding all incidents of eye gouging and a memorandum will be issued to all independent judicial officers reinforcing the IRB’s disciplinary policy.

‘Under existing IRB disciplinary regulations only the player may appeal independent judicial decisions. In light of recent cases, the IRB will review whether the scope of the appeal should in the future extend to other appropriate parties, including the IRB itself.’

Do you think players found guilty of eye gouging should be banned for more than 12 weeks? If so, how long should the ban be?

Have your say, as Vodacom’s Player 23, below.