A rugby union player in Australia has been banned for 96 weeks for attacking a referee.
After being found guilty of physically attacking a referee, a rugby union player was banned for 96 weeks.
Footage shows an unidentified Perth Bayswater player slamming referee Ian Sunderland to the ground on April 22 during a Premier Grade match.
According to Rugby Western Australia, the suspension is nearly five years long because it is only served during the rugby season.
“We accepted the decision and do not condone what he did,” Perth Bayswater president Darrell Stops said.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, no action was taken during the game in Western Australia at first since it was ruled unintentional, but the move was later proven to be deliberate and the player was cited.
A Rugby Western Australia Judicial Committee judged the player guilty, and the length of the penalty was the toughest permitted under World Rugby guidelines.
“Due to the high-end and deliberate nature of the offence, a sanction of 96 weeks – effectively, almost five years – was handed down,” Rugby Western Australia said in a statement.
“We have genuine concerns for referee Ian Sunderland and his injury as a result of the incident,” Perth Bayswater president Darrell Stops stated.
“At the same time, we’re attempting to assist our player, who is not in a good place.”
“We strongly condemn any form of abuse or harassment towards match officials, and are determined to ensure that such behavior is eradicated from the game,” Rugby WA CEO Simon Taylor added.
“The rugby community must remain vigilant against abuse towards match officials, and we hope that this sanction contributes to ensuring a more respectful approach to officials at any level of rugby.”
Perth was defeated 26-33 by Associates in the highest level of domestic club play in Western Australia.