MMT League Rules
The merit table shall be known as the Middlesex Merit Table (MMT).
2.1 The MMT shall be managed and supervised by the Middlesex Rugby (Middlesex County Rugby Football Union Ltd) who shall appoint an Organiser (the Organiser) to administer the MMT and to whom Middlesex Rugby may delegate such powers as it deems appropriate.
2.2 The Organiser shall administer the MMT and make such decisions as he deems appropriate to run an efficient and fair competition provided only that any such decision must not be contrary to these regulations, the rules and regulations of Middlesex Rugby, the rules and regulations of the Rugby Football Union or the Laws of the Game.
2.3 The Organiser shall have the power to alter or amend these regulations, as he deems necessary in order to run an efficient and fair competition, provided only that no regulations may be changed, other than in exceptional circumstances, once the competition has started.
2.4 Any decision of the Organiser will be final and binding on all Clubs and teams in the MMT subject to any Clubs right to appeal in accordance with Regulation 17.
2.5 The MMT shall consist of six divisions with the winners, the team that finish at the top of each division at the end of the season.
2.6 Clubs shall notify the Organiser of their MMT contact. Any communication with the Club contact shall be deemed to be effective communication with the Club.
- ELIGIBILITY OF CLUBS
3.1 Only Clubs which are members of Middlesex Rugby (Eligible Clubs) may participate in the MMT.
3.2 All Eligible Clubs shall be invited to participate in the MMT and by accepting such invitation and commencing a match in the MMT shall agree to be bound by these regulations.
3.3 If a team fails to honour four or more fixtures, then the Organiser may in his absolute discretion exclude that team from the competition for the remainder of 2022/23 season. In the case of a team being excluded or withdrawing from the MMT all its results shall be expunged.
- ELIGIBILTY OF PLAYERS
4.1 Teams may only select members of their Club and players who play at least 75% of the season for the team selected. You are not allowed to bring players from your higher teams for key games to increase your chances of winning the game. Should clubs be challenged they will be required to provide evidence to show that the player(s) has played at least 75% of the rugby that he has played in the 2022/23 for that side. Failure to comply with this regulation will see the offending side punished with either a -10 points deduction or removal from the competition if a Cup/Bowl/Vase or Play-Off game.
5.1 The MMT will be divided into Six Divisions comprising teams from the Eligible Clubs.
5.2 Each team in the top five Division will play each other team in that Division twice, once at home and once away to establish the position of each team in that Division (league matches).
5.3 Six merit table points (Points) shall be awarded for a win, four Points for a draw and two Points for a loss.
5.4 A further point shall be awarded to any team that scores 25 points or more or that loses its game by 10 points or less.
5.5 In the event of any team failing to fulfil a league match, other than for a postponement due to the pitch being unplayable, adverse weather conditions or other reason acceptable to the Organiser it shall forfeit the match. The non-offending team shall be deemed to have won the match 25:0 and shall be awarded seven Points. The offending team shall be deducted no Points.
If a team refuses to play on the grounds that the oppositions has less than fifteen players (and the opposition has twelve or more players) available at the scheduled kick off time and/or cannot contest the scrum than the team that refuses to play shall be deemed to have forfeited the game.
In league matches extra time shall not be played. In the event of the scores being equal at the end of normal time the match shall be deemed a draw.
5.6 MT5 will function in a different way. Teams will be able to play as many games as they want or can across the season against the other sides in the MT. They can choose when to play and how often. It will be for them to decide when and who they will be playing. The onus will be on them to arrange games when they have sufficient players to honour a fixture or when they rely on the Game On regulations that their opponents are able to match their expectations. The organiser will create a league table and points will be awarded in the same way.
5.7 The position in the final table for all six MT’s shall be determined by points awarded.
5.8 If Points awarded are equal then the team having the better difference between points scored and those conceded shall take the higher position.
5.9 If the teams can still not be separated then the team having scored the most points shall take the higher position.
5.10 The team that finishes at the top of each Division at the end of the league programmes will be declared the winner.
5.11 Teams have the right to play under some or all of the RFU GAME ON Principles provided both sides in the match agree to play by some or all of the regulations before the match commences. If agreement is not reached between the two sides the match will be played under these MMT Regulations. The link for the Game On regulations is here.
- MMT Premier Plate/MMT 1-5 Playoff Off Semi Finals and Finals
6.1 Following the conclusion of the league programme there will be a playoff competition for the teams in MMT 1 to MMT 5 with the winners being promoted alongside the Division Winners. The semi-final matches shall be between the second and fifth placed teams in the final table and the third and fourth placed teams at the grounds of the teams that finished highest in the final table (unless the Organiser decides otherwise) For MMT Premier Division where there is no promotion there will instead be an end of season KO Plate Competition The Semi-Final matches shall be again between the 2nd and fifth placed teams in the final table and the third and fourth placed teams at the grounds of the teams that finished highest in the final table (unless the Organiser decides otherwise).
6.2 The Finals match of each Division both Play Off and Cup shall be played on 23rd April 2022 between the winners of the Semi-Final matches of that Division at a ground to be determined by the organiser.
- DRAWN MATCHES IN THE KNOCKOUT STAGES
7.1 If at the end of normal time in the semi-final round, the scores are level there will be no extra time. Instead, the side that has scored the most tries will progress to the final. If the tries are the same the away side will go through to the final.
7.2 If at the end of normal time in a Final the scores are level, there shall be a two minute break. After this break, the teams will change ends and there shall be a period of extra time between the teams of 10 minutes each way, with a one-minute interval.
7.3 If the scores are then still level the teams will change ends and ‘sudden death’ will be played. Play will continue with the teams changing ends every ten minutes. The team scoring first during ‘sudden death’ will be deemed the winner.
- WINNER OF THE MIDDLESEX MERIT TABLE TROPHY
The winner of the Middlesex Merit Table Trophy shall be the winner of Premier MT.
- PROMOTION AND RELEGATION
9.1 The winners of the Division One, Two, Three, Four and Five Divisions shall be promoted together with the winners of each playoff finals for those Divisions.
9.2 Both the bottom and second bottom placed sides in Divisions Premier, One, Two, Three and Four at the end of the league programmes shall be relegated.
9.3 Where required the organiser shall have the authority to promote and relegate more than two sides from each division and to promote or relegate teams more than one level.
During the season the organiser will be able to promote or relegate teams when it is clear that their playing standard is either far too strong or too weak for the level that they are competing at.
Moving teams in season will only occur when there is space available for the move or it is in the interests of another team to take promotion or relegation to accommodate the move.
When a new side joins the organiser shall have the authority to place them at a suitable level.
10.1 The Organiser shall draw up the fixtures for the season which will take place on Saturday afternoons unless the Organiser agrees otherwise. Friday night games prior to the Saturday afternoon are also acceptable if both teams agree.
10.2 Participating Clubs may, with the agreement of their opponents, rearrange any of their league matches provided the Organiser is notified by 8th September 2022 and has no objection to the re-arranged date. Teams are only permitted to arrange a match after 8th September 2022 if the new date is before the scheduled date unless the arrangement is as a result of the game being postponed or abandoned due to unplayable pitches.
10.3 In the event of a dispute between Clubs as to when a match should be played the match shall be played on the date originally specified by the Organiser, or any other reasonable date that the Organiser deems suitable.
10.4 Double header matches (whether league/league or league/knock-out) shall be permitted provided both sides are in agreement and permission is obtained from the Organiser prior to the match. Where there is no agreement between the sides or permission is not obtained from the Organiser the fixture will not be played as a double header.
10.5 The home team shall be responsible for organising the referee and paying his expenses.
10.6 Other than in the Final matches, the home team shall use its best endeavours to secure the services of a referee from the London Society of Rugby Football Union Referees (“LSRFUR”). The organiser shall arrange referees for the Finals matches and be responsible for paying his expenses.
10.7 In the event of the LSRFUR being unable to appoint a referee the home team shall be responsible for providing a competent referee.
10.8 The home team shall be responsible for informing the referee of these Regulations.
10.9 If in the opinion of the referee there is a colour clash the home team or in the Final, the first named team) shall change its shirts.
10.10 The Organiser’s permission must be obtained for any league or Semi-Final match to be played at a ground, which is not the home ground of either of the teams involved. The Organiser’s permission will not be withheld unless he believes that the choice of venue unreasonably disadvantages the away team.
10.11 Teams are asked to confirm the fixture by 9pm on the Thursday before the match. If struggling to get out a side early communication is recommended with your opponents. It might be that they have extra players to assist to get the match played or that agreement can be reached around the new RFU Game On Regulations.
10.12 All other arrangements shall be made as for usual Club fixtures.
- ABANDONED MATCHES
11.1 Weather Conditions (which shall be deemed to include bad light in the sole opinion of the referee):
Less than 50 Minutes Played
If weather conditions result in a match being abandoned when less than fifty minutes have been played then the game will be replayed and both teams will use their best endeavors to ensure that the match is played at the earliest possible date. If the teams cannot agree, the match shall be played at a time, date and venue as specified by the Organiser.
50 or more Minutes Played
If a match is abandoned because of weather conditions when fifty or more minutes have been played, then the score at the moment of abandonment shall stand and be deemed the final score in the match. The Referee’s decision as to the necessity for abandonment and the number of minutes played at the moment of abandonment shall be final.
11.2 Other Reasons
If the Referee finds it necessary to abandon a match for any reason other than weather conditions, then, irrespective of the number of minutes played, the circumstances shall be reviewed by the Organiser who may order, after making such enquiries as he deems appropriate, the match to be replayed and/or impose such other sanction as he deems appropriate or determine whether the score at the time of the abandonment will be the result.
- UNPLAYABLE PITCHES
12.1 A match shall only be postponed if either captain regards the pitch as unplayable. The referee’s opinion may be sought, but it is the captains’ decision whether to play the match or not. If the captains cannot agree then the match shall not be played and the matter shall be reported, by the home team, to the Organiser. If in the Organiser’s opinion a Captain unreasonably refused to play then the Organiser may award the tie to the other team. In reaching his decision the Organiser may consult the referee.
12.2 If a league match is postponed then both teams will make every reasonable effort to ensure that the match is played at the earliest possible date. If the teams cannot agree, the match shall be played at a time, date and venue as specified by the Organiser. A failure by one of the sides to honour that fixture shall be taken that they have forfeited the match and the non-offending side will be deemed to have won the game 25-0 If no suitable date is available then the game will not be played and the match will be recorded as a 0-0 draw with each clubs being awarded 4 Points.
12.3 In the event of the postponement of a Semi-Final or Final then both teams will use their best endeavours to ensure that the match is played at the earliest possible date. If the teams cannot agree the match shall be played at a time, date and venue as specified by the Organiser.
- NOTIFICATION OF RESULT/POSTPONEMENT
The home team is responsible for notifying the Organiser of the result or of the postponement/abandonment/cancellation of the match by midday on the Sunday following the match. Failure to report the result or the postponement/abandonment by the due time shall, except in exceptional circumstances, automatically lead to the deduction of one Point from the home team.
NOTIFICATION OF THE RESULT WILL BE BY EMAIL ONLY TO moc/ybgurxeselddim//tmm
14.1 In league matches, the teams will agree on the number of replacements before the commencement of the match. Teams are encouraged to agree the number of replacements when confirming the fixture. In the event that the teams cannot agree, there will be a maximum of three replacements.
14.2 Teams will be allowed a maximum of four replacements for both Cup Competitions up and including the Semi Final which will increase to five for the Finals.
14.3 For both Cup Competitions up to and including the Finals teams must have four players in their team capable of playing in the front row.
14.4 Up to and including the Semi-Final matches teams are required to be able to replace any position in the front row on the first occasion only that a replacement is required. This increases for the Finals to two occasions that a replacement is required.
14.5 If both sides in the final agree, the number of replacements can be increased to five provided that the team(s) have five players capable of playing in the front row and that they replace any position in the front row on both the first and second time of asking.
- PLAYER INTERCHANGES
15.1 Each team shall be permitted unlimited interchanges.
15.2 Not more than two Player Interchanges per team may occur at any one time and may only occur during a stoppage in play and with the permission of the referee who is entitled in his sole opinion to refuse to allow or postpone a Player Interchange if he believes that the Player Interchange would prevent the opposition from restarting the game quickly or that a player has been injured or that it would not be safe in his opinion for the replacement player to play in the match.
15.3 A Player who is a replacement shall not be entitled to take a kick at goal until a passage of play has taken place since that Player took to the field of play.
15.4 A Player who suffers two injuries in a match which has necessitated that Player being replaced on each occasion is not permitted to act as a replacement following the second injury.
15.5 Under dispensation provided to Unions by the IRB, where these rolling substitutions Regulations conflict with the Laws of the Game these Regulations shall take precedence.
- UNCONTESTED SCRUMS PRERMIER and DIVISION 1
16.1 In the Premier Division or Division 1 if a team opts for uncontested scrums prior to the start of the match that team will be required to remove a player from the field and play with not more than fourteen players.
If after the start of the game that team brings on a player that allows the scrums to be contested they will be allowed to field not more than fifteen players.
The player coming on shall not be counted as one of their Player Interchanges.
16.2 If a team is unable to contest any scrum (either by its own decision or as a result of a decision by the referee) after the start of the match that team will be required to remove a player from the field and continue with not more than fourteen players.
16.3 If a team is able to resume contested scrums, then the removed player may return.
16.4 Whilst a team has been reduced by one player due to its inability to contest the scrum that team will be allowed to make Player Interchanges in accordance with Regulation 14 and 15 provided that it has no more than fourteen players on the field at any one time.
16.5 If a team is unable to contest the scrum due to having a front row player either temporarily or permanently excluded that team will not have to remove an additional player and will continue with a maximum of fourteen players.
16.6 If in the referee’s opinion the scrums cannot be contested safely the game will continue with uncontested scrums.
16.A UNCONTESTED SCRUMS DIVISIONS 2 – 5
16.A.1 Teams are expected to have a front row available for games and only in exceptional occasions should a league match commence with “uncontested scrums.”
16.A.2 When a team opts for uncontested scrums prior to the start of the match they will have the option to either play with a full complement of players but begin the match 14-0 down or be required to remove a player from the field and play with not more than fourteen players with game starting a 0-0.
16.A.3 In league games there is no requirement for front row replacements. In the event of uncontested scrums for part of the game the result will stand as if contested scrums had taken place.
16.A.4 Provided a side has started a league game with contested scrums if during the match they lose a front row forward and have to go uncontested the relevant team will not be obliged to adhere to the “Man Off” regulations and will be able to play the remainder of the match with a full complement of players
16.A.5 If a team is unable to contest the scrum due to having a front row player either temporarily or permanently excluded (red or yellow card) that team will continue with a maximum of fourteen players until the removed player can return
16.A.6 If after the start of the game that team brings on a player that allows the scrums to be contested they will be allowed to field not more than fifteen player.
If the referee deems that the reason that the scrums cannot be contested is not the fault of either side, then neither team shall be required to remove a player.
17.1 A Club can make an appeal (“the Appellant) under these regulations by writing to the Organiser.
17.2 If the appeal concerns a particular match, then the appeal must be made within seven days of the playing or postponement of the match concerned. In any other circumstances the appeal must be made as soon as possible and in any event within seven days of the facts giving rise to the appeal being made public or known to the appellant.
17.3 The Organiser may consult with whosoever he wishes in arriving at his decision. Any failure or delay by a Club in providing information within seven days of being requested to do so may adversely affect the Club’s position. Such failure by a Club to provide relevant information in a timely manner without satisfactory explanation shall not be permitted to form the basis of an appeal.
17.4 The Organiser must inform the Clubs involved of his decision in writing within fourteen days of receiving the appeal or explain the reason for the delay and give a new deadline when the Clubs may expect his decision.
17.5 Once the Organiser has reached his decision and informed the Clubs in writing a further appeal can be made by the Club writing to the Competitions Committee of Middlesex Rugby (“the Appeal Committee”). Such appeal must be made in writing to the Secretary of Middlesex Rugby at the County Office within seven days of receiving the written notification of the decision from the Organiser together with a payment of twenty-five pounds, which shall be refundable if the appeal is successful.
An appeal can only be made on the following grounds:
a. The decision of the Organiser is unreasonable;
b. The decision breaches MMT, Middlesex Rugby or RFU regulations;
c. The sanction is excessive; or
d. New evidence has become available.
New evidence will only be considered if it was not available to the appellant in time to be submitted to the Organiser when considering the original appeal.
No appeal shall be considered without the payment of the fee.
17.6 The Appeal Committee may adopt such procedure as it deems appropriate save that the decision will be based upon written submissions only (and there will be no personal hearings unless the Appeal Committee determines exceptionally otherwise).
17.7 The Appeal Committee may initiate a de novo (“as new”) hearing, but only if there are exceptional circumstances, such as when new evidence which was not available to the Organiser becomes available. An appellant will not be able to rely on new evidence that it could and should have provided to the Organiser to request a de novo hearing.
17.8 The Appeal Committee will notify the Club of their decision within twenty-one days of receiving the appeal.
- RFU Regulation 6 – Adult Competitions
18.1 Where an issue is not covered in these regulations the competition organiser will rely on those covered in RFU Regulation 6 – Adult Competitions.