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Wedjane took time out to give Rugby Africa (www.RugbyAfrique.com) insight into her journey as a citing commissioner and share some of the experiences that have stood out for her in the last few years.
What does your appointment as a citing commissioner liaison officer (CCLO) for the Six Nations match between France and Scotland (on 26 March) mean to you, especially since you were the only female appointed representing the French panel?
I am extremely proud and honoured to be the first African and Tunisian women to be appointed as a CCLO, and I am thankful to the French Professional championship and LNR for offering me this opportunity and for their trust in me.
How long have you been a citing commissioner and what appealed to you about the role?
I have been a Citing Commissioner since December 2018 (the citing commissioner can be appointed as a Citing Commissioner or as a Citing Commissioner Liaison Officer), and what appealed to me the most initially was the importance of this role. It is not only vital to ensure the safety of the players, it also guarantees fairness in a match.
Tell us briefly what the role entails (list some of your responsibilities)?
A Citing Commissioner is an independent official, appointed by the competition organiser, the union in which the match is taking place, or World Rugby. They are responsible for citing players who commit any act of foul play which warrants a Red Card sanction.
Citing Commissioners may cite players for an act(s) of foul play detected by the Match Officials (referee, assistant referee or TMO) and which may have been the subject of referee action.
As a general rule, the citing commissioner should carefully consider the actions taken by the match officials and support the on-field decision, and only consider taking action if it is ‘clear and obvious’, based on all the evidence available to the citing commissioner post-match, that the player’s actions justify a citing (red card equivalent) or citing commissioner warning.
What do you enjoy most about being a citing commissioner?
One of the aspects I enjoy most about the role is being in direct contact with all the stakeholders in a match including referees, team managers, doctors and the players.
How can more women follow in your footsteps and take up similar roles?
My advice to women who would like to become citing commissioners is to have determination and a high work ethic, as it takes hard work.
What challenges have you faced in your career?
I suppose the biggest challenge is to succeed as a woman in sport dominated by men and to ensure that one continues to make progress.
What are your career highlights?
My career highlights so far are being part of the Sevens Series in Biarritz where we had the first fully female team of citing commissioners, and more recently the Six Nations encounter between France and Scotland in France this month.
Name some of the other tournaments you have worked on as a citing commissioner?
The Africa Cup 7s men’s and women’s tournaments, the Top 14 in France and the Paris Sevens Series.
What are your goals for the future?
My goals for the future are to establish myself as a leading citing commissioner in Africa and to be appointed as a citing commissioner in the Rugby World Cup.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Rugby Africa.