An independent misconduct committee determined that the behavior displayed by Rassie Erasmus towards the referees during the series between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions constituted improper behavior and, in addition to other punishments both for him and for SA Rugby, the South African was suspended for two months from all rugby-related activities. World Rugby had filed six charges against him.
The committee chaired by Christopher Quinlan, along with Nigel Hampton and Mike Mika decided on the six charges brought by World Rugby for various violations of World Rugby Rule 18 and the World Rugby Code of Conduct:
1. Threatened a referee that, unless a requested meeting was held, he would post images containing clips criticizing his performance and then fulfilling that threat; posted or allowed to post the Erasmus video that contained numerous comments that were abusive, insulting and offensive;
2. Attacked, belittled and / or denigrated the game and the referees;
3. Did not accept or observe their authority and decisions;
4.Publish or provoke the publication of criticism about the way a referee handled a match;
5. Engaged in conduct or activity that may affect the public’s confidence in the integrity and good character of referees;
6. You discredited the game when you posted or caused the video to be published.
Having considered all the evidence, including the oral evidence of the referees, Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby, World Rugby and the submissions of the parties, the committee found all six charges against Mr. Erasmus proven.
In addition, World Rugby presented two counts against SA Rugby in accordance with World Rugby Rule 18 and the World Rugby Code of Conduct:
1. Failed to ensure that Rassie Erasmus complied with the World Rugby Code of Conduct and / or allowed Mr. Erasmus to commit acts of misconduct; and / or did not publicly correct any comments or posts by or on behalf of Mr. Erasmus that determine misconduct;
2. Permitted and / or did not prevent Siya Kolisi and Mzwandile Stick from making comments at a press conference on July 30, 2021 that they were not disciplined or sporting and negatively affected rugby; and / or did not publicly correct any of those comments to negatively affect rugby.
Having considered all the evidence, including oral evidence from the referees, Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby, World Rugby and the submissions of the parties, the committee found the first charge against SA Rugby proven.
Considering the submissions on behalf of both parties regarding the sanction, the independent committee decided the following:
1. Suspension with immediate effect from all rugby activities for two months
2. Suspension of all match day activities (including training, contact with referees and participation of the media) with immediate effect until September 30, 2022
3. A warning about his future conduct and an apology to the injured referees.
1. A fine of £ 20,000
2. A warning about future conduct and an apology to the injured referees.
Source: World Rugby