During the Dragons RFC v Ospreys Round 5 fixture on Saturday, 18 November at Rodney Parade, Baugh engaged with WRU referee Ben Whitehouse in a manner that was deemed to breach Championship Rule 4.13 (communicating with match officials) and Disciplinary Rules 3.2 and 3.3 (refer to unsporting conduct).
As a result, Baugh has been banned for four games with three suspended across the course of the 2023/24 season. The ban means that Baugh is prohibited from being in the Playing Enclosures (Pitch & Technical) areas but can sit in the stand, enter the dressing room and/or the coaches box during this weekend’s fixture between Dragons RFC and Hollywood Bets Sharks in Durban.
Should Baugh repeat this offence or any other action deemed as misconduct throughout the rest of the season he will have to serve the remaining three games of the ban. A fine of £2,500 will also be incurred by Baugh in such a situation.
Additionally, Dragons RFC have been sanctioned with a suspended £5,000 fine under Disciplinary Rule 3.3.5 which refers to a club’s duty to exercise reasonable and proper control over their players and staff.
The United Rugby Championship has made it clear to its clubs and their match-day personnel and squads that unsporting or disrespectful behaviour towards match officials will not be tolerated.
The league thanks Dragons RFC for their compliance and understanding during this process and believes that this is a rare and isolated incident that is out of character with the club’s positive reputation.
Championship Rule 4.13
Save for (a) communications between a Club’s Technical Zone Manager and the fourth, fifth and sixth officials that take place pursuant to (and in accordance with) Appendix Five to these Championship Rules, and (b) communications between a Club Medic and a Match official that is strictly compliant with Law 6.30 of the Laws of the Game (in relation to the treatment of a Player), no Club Medic, Club Manager or Club Coach may communicate (or attempt to communicate) with any of the Match officials (including the television match official) at any point during the Match , which will include stoppages in play and the half-time interval. No Player or other Person may enter, or attempt to enter, the Match officials’ changing room(s) at any relevant time before, during or after a Match (including at any time when one or more of the Match officials are in the Match officials’ changing room(s)).
Disciplinary Rule 3.2
For the purposes of these Disciplinary Rules, “Misconduct” shall mean any act of Foul Play by a Player and/or any conduct, behaviour, statements (including, without limitation, statements made on social networking platforms or sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or similar) or practices by a Club and/or any of its Players, its other Persons or its supporters, on or off the Playing Enclosure, during a Match or otherwise, that is unsporting and/or insulting and/or that brings or has the potential to bring the sport of rugby union, the Championship, other Clubs or Persons, match officials, Pro Rugby Championship, one or more of the Unions and/or any sponsor or other commercial partner of the Championship or Pro Rugby Championship into disrepute and/or that is not in accordance with the Participation Agreement. An “Anti-Corruption Offence” has the meaning given in section 1 of Appendix Twelve to these Disciplinary Rules.
Disciplinary Rule 3.3
While it is not possible to draw up a definitive and exhaustive list of types of conduct that may amount to Misconduct under these Disciplinary Rules, each of the following types of behaviour by a Club and/or its Players, its other Persons or its supporters is an example of (and constitutes) Misconduct under these Disciplinary Rules: 3.3.1 breaching the Championship Rules relating to player registration and/or eligibility, i.e., clauses 6 and 7 of the Championship Rules;
Disciplinary Rule 3.3.5
Failure or refusal by a Club to exercise reasonable and proper control over its Players, its other Persons and/or its supporters, on or off the Playing Enclosure, including, but not limited to when representatives of the Club are travelling to or from a Match and at all times when the Players, other Persons and/or supporters of the Club are present in the country of the home Club for a Match (either before or after such Match)