SARU: Ban ref abusers for life

2012-05-24 16:33

Cape Town - Players and coaches found guilty of assaulting referees should expect to be banned from the game for life, Oregan Hoskins, president of the South African Rugby Union (SARU) said on Thursday.

Hoskins said he had written to SARU’s 14 provincial unions, urging their disciplinary committees to take the strongest possible action against any individuals under their jurisdiction who physically or verbally abused match officials.

“Anyone who physically attacks a referee should be banned for life from the game,” said Hoskins.

“The message has to go out in the strongest possible terms that such actions will not be tolerated in South African rugby. People need to be banned and they need to be banned for life to drill the message home. 

“Attacks on referees are rare but we want to stamp out the idea, once and for all, that abusing the referee - either verbally or physically - is somehow acceptable and that ‘taking it’ is actually part of the official’s job description.

“We have asked our provinces for zero tolerance in this matter. It is time to draw a line in the sand.”

Hoskins was responding to two recent incidents: In the first a high school player was banned for an effective three years for head butting a referee during a match; in the second incident a high school coach is awaiting sentence after pleading guilty to shoulder charging a referee. Hoskins said his comments were not aimed at sentencing in the latter case, in which the judicial process had already begun.

Physical abuse of referees is regarded as the most serious offence a player or official can commit. That is reflected on the IRB’s schedule of recommended sanctions. The entry-level sanction for physical abuse of a referee is a six-month ban, which can rise to a life ban.

“Let us have no sympathy for the assailants,” said Hoskins. “There is absolutely no reason why anyone involved should lay a finger on a referee. If it does not happen in the most pressured environment of Test or Super Rugby, why should it happen at a Saturday morning school match?

“The recent suspension of three years exceeded the entry level sanction but the incidence of these types of offences in South Africa requires a wider view from SARU.

“Referee abuse is a blight on our game of which we should be ashamed. Only the strongest possible action appears capable of getting the message home.”

Hoskins said he expected provincial judicial committees to be similarly vigorous when it came to cases of on-field violence between players. He said he had also written to the Schools’ Rugby Association asking them to warn their members of SARU’s stance. He also challenged them to enforce traditional standards of respect and fair play as enshrined in the BokSmart programme, a national rugby safety certification process, to which all coaches (and referees) are signatories.


  • Squeegee - 2012-05-24 16:59

    Wow! I actually agree with SARU on something.

      Grant - 2012-05-24 18:25

      I dont - not until they take the same strong stance against cheating refs (Bryce Lawrence and co). ...and they want to nail people for VERBALLY abusing them!? Put an effort in to clean up the refs, and maybe expecting more respect towards them wont be so far-fetched...

      YrHonour - 2012-05-24 18:39

      @Grant - Go on have a go - Yawn

      Squeegee - 2012-05-24 18:48

      Grant, this is aimed at undisciplined school players, yobo parents and coaches - not so much at professional refs...

      adrien.mcguire - 2012-05-24 19:07

      @ Squeegee I couldnt agree more. But want to add my voice about 'yobo parents'. When attending school matches, I have been schocked at the behaviour of parents on the sidelines. The abuse they hurl is an embarrassment and no wonder our kids have the wrong role models in life . I would fully support the banning of these parents !

      adrian.bruwer - 2012-05-24 20:07

      Some referees are super arrogant, provoke players and spoil a good game of rugby. Can SARU please tell me what we can do to stop this? I pay good money to see top players compete. I don't even want to be aware of the insignificant little man on the field. I don't condone ref-bashing, but I certainly understand that some guys have simply had enough! It's time the players get more rights to challenge calls.

      Owentjie - 2012-05-25 02:51

      @ Grant, you ever ref a game? Probably never missed a thing, you were probably perfect? Thats why you are reffing international level games....? on your couch. I do think refs need to be accountable for poor reffing at international reffing, in other reffing too, but maybe refs should say, sorry I did not see it or I didnt see it like that. Because really, thats what it comes down too most times, its such a quick dynamic game, that there is alot too miss and refs are human. All fighting should be dealt with harshly

  • Hermann - 2012-05-24 17:00

    Give that man a Bells!

  • Gareth - 2012-05-24 17:03

    Give that man 1 million Bells!!!

  • Michael - 2012-05-24 17:13

    What about Bryce Lawrence? Surely we can slap him around a bit...just a little bit?

      Bootman - 2012-05-24 17:20


  • Fred - 2012-05-24 18:22

    Suppressing the real problem, the over concentration of power in the hands of one person, is not going to solve the issue. This is called denial. Some would say stupidity.

      YrHonour - 2012-05-24 18:38

      @Fred Not very bright are you!.....No question mark needed

  • YrHonour - 2012-05-24 18:37

    Goes without saying really

  • Andrew Gay - 2012-05-24 19:56

    If the players and coaches could site referees for poor decisions like we have seen in recent times, then maybe this kind of physical abuse would be avoided. I still say that if a referee has a poor game he should be fined as are players for ill discipline and lose a percentage of his match fee...

      Greg - 2012-05-24 21:10

      Andrew, I was a ref in the UK and what happens is that before the game, report cards are given to the team captains for them to assess the referee. These cards get posted back to the regional referee society. The referee society is in charge of promoting/demoting/retraining referees based on both the cards returned and referee inspectors who go to your games to view your refeering. That is the process. If I give a red card, I must submit a report to the society within 48 hrs so the disciplinary comittee can review. Likewise, a club can submit there own report to the society for referee indescretions.Just remember, there are not enough referees for the number of games that are played and a game without a referee is called off with no points to either side. I am an amateur ref and do this out of my own pocket because I love the game. Abuse me and I walk away unless procedures are in place....

      Koos - 2012-05-25 00:04

      The perception is that refs get away with murder as everything related to refs and their behaviour are done behind close doors. We all agree refs make mistakes. But shows us how it is dealt with. Players /coaches are punished in 'public', why not refs? Players get reputations and are sometimes penalised due to their reputation. Are refs afraid it might be seen that also get a reputation of favouritism? Captains should get a card whereby they can question the ref's decision. Like in cricket.

      nickkirsten - 2012-05-25 01:00

      I agree - rugby is a sport, not a boxing club and neither a moron society. It is pure contact and brutal but oh man... it is the best, and only the best should play it. Players should treat referees with the same respect referees have towards players. It is very obvious that referees are getting away with murder and you never even once hear anything afterwards. Take a look at the stuff up Bryce made with the Springboks vs Wallabies game. If a ref don't like you he can literally victimize you and there is nothing you can do about it. Why should you also not have a good say and argue to the ref about poor dicisions? Anyway, I agree that referees should be fined in the same way players are banned, for six months which can raise to a life ban. For SARU to come to the party like this and not making it fair for both ref and player, just proves how childish some of the big boys are to come up with crap like this.

      gregg.murray1 - 2012-05-25 21:49

      If you talking about professional referees then you are only talking about the guy doing Super rugby and test matches, the rest are volunteers, what are you going to do take away the R50.00 for the travel allowance, probably cost more than triple that to get there. Those that think the ref is useless , I challenge you take up the whistle, and blow a match where you are alone and nobody to back you up. I bet you you will sing form a different Hymn book.

  • gert.vanniekerk - 2012-05-24 21:15

    Referees in school games have a huge impact on the game and often take sides, referees will deny it but it still happen. They should take the blame if they can't control the game. Parents and trainers are also to blame for influencing the players to win doesn't matter wat.

      gregg.murray1 - 2012-05-25 21:39

      The referees in school games are all volunteers, 99% of the time he has no AR's. When you watch your team playing you are always looking to see how your team is infringed upon,the ref has to look for the first and obvious infringement and allow advantage or make a call, when the is advantage been played everybody screaming about the incedent and seem never to want the advantage but that is the law. I have been to games where people are screaming high tackles and are verbally abusing the ref, and sometimes I think that I am not watching the same game as them, then you realise it is parents trying to live in the shoes of their children on the field. I have the utmost respect for anybody who take up the whistle, you can see the ref is doing their utmost to let the game be played as best as possible, but this is never good enough for some spectators. I have seen a mother screaming at the ref that he is ruining the game with all the calls, at one incedent she screams "ref you f***ing idoit , what was that for" a school boy turns to her and says "mam it was a foward pass" the woman still says "he is still a f***ing idiot" . I would like to film some of these spectators and put them on youtube , these people need to shamed for their ignorance. I always remind myself the ref is one person alone on that field, where as the players have 14 team mates on the field , plus reserves and their spectators. He comes alone and leaves alone.

  • Harold - 2012-05-25 04:58

    Old Schalkie's career would've been over a long time ago.

  • Richard - 2012-05-25 12:51

    In essence yes, BUT sort your referees out first. Just look at some of our International ref's and one shudders. Kaplan, Jonker and Lawrence are a joke on the rugby field. Pre Madonnas that are more interested in what they look like and how much attention they can draw, than they are in the game. Unfortunately the rot continues down in all manner.

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