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Watch: Rugby player banned for life for referee attack

June 4th, 2024

Rugby player banned for life for referee attack

A rugby player in Namibia has received a lifetime ban for charging towards the referee and tackling him to the ground in a match last month.

In shocking footage captured on video, the player – who has not been named by the Namibia Rugby Union – reacts when the referee shows a yellow card to one of his Grootfontein team-mates in a match against the Reho Falcons last month.

When the card is shown, the player sprints from the edge of the pitch and flies into the referee, knocking him to the ground and causing a melee. The Falcons players are left stunned, throwing their arms into the air and dragging the offending player away.

The official subsequently shows the player a red card and abandons the match “due to concerns for his own safety”. As well as a lifetime playing ban, the player also received a 156-week ban – the equivalent of three years – from all forms of rugby, including coaching, refereeing and administration. The ban will end on May 31, 2027; the match took place on May 18 but the disciplinary hearing was not convened until 12 days later at which the player was found guilty of “conduct deemed detrimental to the sport and the NRU”.

“A serious incident occurred involving a Grootfontein Rugby Club player who tackled the match referee, causing the game to end prematurely,” read a Facebook statement from the NRU.

“Following a disciplinary hearing, the NRU has issued a lifetime ban from playing rugby and a 156-week ban from all rugby activities, effective May 30.

“The committee emphasised the severity of the offence, noting the potential for serious injury to the match official, the deliberate nature of the act, and the negative impact on the reputation of the NRU and the sport of rugby internationally.

“Our commitment to the safety and integrity of rugby remains unwavering. Full details and the right to appeal can be found in our statement.”

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