European Challenge Cup – Key Tournament Rules
Participation in European Challenge Cup
20 top flight teams from seven countries compete in five Pools of four teams each.
The 20 teams in the 2006/7 tournament are made up of:
France 7 teams
England 6 teams
Italy 3 teams
Ireland 1 team
Scotland 1 team
Romania 1 team
Wales 1 team
ECC - Key Tournament Rules
The Tournament will be played under the IRB Laws of the Game.
1(a) Pool Matches
Four points for a win, two points for a draw (match points). A bonus point will be earned
by a team scoring four or more tries and by a team losing by seven or less points. The five
Pool winners and three best placed runners-up will qualify for the Quarter-Finals and will be
decided by the following criteria:
(i) the Pool winner will be the Club with the highest number of match points earned in
each Pool. The runners-up will be the three second placed Clubs from all five Pools
with the next highest number of points. For the Quarter-Final round, the Pool winners
will be ranked 1 - 5 in terms of the number of points earned. The runners-up will be
ranked 6, 7 and 8.
Clubs in the same Pool
(ii) if Clubs are equal on points and the Clubs are in the same Pool, then qualification /
ranking will be based on the two matches played between the Clubs concerned:
(a) the Club which has earned the most number of match points from the two
matches (four points for a win, two points for a draw and bonus points).
(b) the Club which has scored the most tries in the two matches.
(c) the Club with the best aggregate points difference from the two matches.
Clubs from different Pools
(iii) if still unresolved, or the teams have not played each other previously in the Pool
stage, qualification/ranking will be based on:
(a) the number of tries scored in all Pool matches.
(b) aggregate points difference from all Pool matches.
(c) the Club with the fewest number of players sent off and / or suspended in all Pool
(d) toss of a coin.
Teams ranked 1 - 4 will have home advantage. The Quarter-Finals will be:
Team 1 v Team 8 (Match A); Team 2 v Team 7 (Match B);
Team 3 v Team 6 (Match C); Team 4 v Team 5 (Match D)
1(b) Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Final
(i) the Semi-Finals will be knock-out, each played over one match. The winners of the
Quarter-final Match A will play the winners of Match D and the winners of Match
B will play the winners of Match C at the home venues of the winners of Match A
(ii) in the event of a tie at full-time in the Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Final, extra
time of 20 minutes (10 minutes each way) will be played.
(iii) if the result is still unresolved the winner will be decided by the following criteria:
(a) the Club which has scored the most tries in that match, including extra time.
(b) place-kick competition to determine the winner.
2. Eligibility of Players
(i) each club shall 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 players must, from 28 September, 2006, be fully and properly registered
with their club and Union and available to play for the club from that date.
(ii) a club may nominate a maximum of 22 players and a minimum of 19 players for
each match. Included amongst such players must be a minimum of five players
who can play in front row forward positions and who are suitably trained and
(iii) after the completion of the Pool stages, clubs involved in the knock-out stages
may nominate three additional players. One of these players must be qualified
to play in a front row position and the other two players can play in any position.
These additional players must be fully and properly registered by 15 March, 2007.
Clubs must ensure that these players have not been nominated in a match squad
with another club for the Heineken Cup or European Challenge Cup tournaments
during the current season.
(iv) each club may select one additional player during the course of the Pool stages.
The nominated additional player will replace a registered member of the club’s
squad and no club will exceed 38 players at any time during the Pool stages.
The de-registered player may return to the squad at a later date during the Pool
stages and replace the additional player. Clubs must ensure that the additional
player has not been nominated in a match squad with another club for the
Heineken Cup or European Challenge Cup tournaments during the current season.
The additional player will be eligible to play in the next round of Pool matches if
his nomination is received by ERC by noon on the Wednesday before the match.
The player must have at least a three-month contract with the Club. If a additional
player is selected by a Club after Round 4 and the Club subsequently qualifies for a
quarter-final the Club will only be allowed to register a further two players for the
(v) each club is permitted a maximum of two “foreign” players in any one match squad.
3. Club Colours
For Pool matches and quarter-finals, in the event of a colour clash, the away club
will change jerseys. For the semi-finals and final in the event of a colour clash the
club selected to change jersey will be by toss of a coin.
4. Anti-Doping programme
Players will be subject to random sampling under ERC procedures or as otherwise notified
(i) the case of any player sent off shall be adjudicated upon by a Match Commissioner.
(ii) for live televised games a Citing Commissioner will be appointed by ERC and shall
be entitled to cite a Player for any act or acts of Foul Play that in the Citing
Commissioner’s opinion is warranted. Clubs will not have the power to cite a player
but may refer incidents to the Citing Commissioner within 24 hours of the conclusion
of the match. The Citing Commissioner will have 50 hours from the start of the game
to make a citing and the determination of the Citing Commissioner will be final and
binding. Should the Citing Commissioner decide there is a case to answer he will
notify the Disciplinary Officer and the Disciplinary Officer will then bring a charge
against the cited player. This case will then proceed to a Disciplinary Hearing.
(iii) for games not shown live on television, where a player is cited by either of the
clubs competing in the match, his case shall be immediately referred to the Citing
Officer. The citing must be submitted in writing and received by the Citing Officer
within 50 hours of the start of the match. The Citing Officer will consider the citing
and decide whether the player cited has a case to answer. After this review, if the
Citing Officer determines there is no case to answer, no further action will be taken.
The determination of the Citing Officer will be final and binding. Should the Citing
Officer decide there is a case to answer he will notify the Disciplinary Officer and the
Disciplinary Officer will then bring a charge against the cited player. This case will
then proceed to a Disciplinary Hearing.
(i) when a match is abandoned after 60 minutes of play (after 20 minutes of the second
half) the result will stand.
(ii) when a match is abandoned with less than 60 minutes played, the match should be
replayed in full after 48 hours with both Clubs allowed to name new teams. If both
Clubs agree the match may be played sooner than 48 hours. If both Clubs agree,
and subject to ERC Board approval, the score of a game abandoned with less than
60 minutes played may stand as the result.