Three Fort Beaufort Barbarians players banned for attacking referee

MAY 14, 2015

Three players from the Fort Beaufort Barbarians Club have each been banned for life after physically assaulting a referee.

Edmund Gunn, Clayton Bantom and Hyron Burgess were all found guilty of assaulting Llewellyn Loots at a pre-season tournament match in Bedford on the 28th of February this year.

South African Rugby Union (SARU) President, Oregan Hoskins, has expressed his satisfaction at the sentence handed down by an Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) disciplinary committee.

The committee also suspended the entire Barbarians Club from all rugby events for the rest of the year, after they were found guilty of bringing the (EPRU) into disrepute by not ensuring the safety of the referee, as well as not assisting in identifying the other players who were believed to be involved.

"We have to change the culture where referees seem to be perceived as 'fair game' for verbal or even physical assaults,” Hoskins said.

"Eastern Province has sent a very clear message to their clubs that they will not stand for it and I hope that message is heard across the country,” he added.

Hopkins added that the suspension of the entire club was appropriate.

"Clubs have a responsibility to ensure that match officials are made welcome and respected in the performance of their duties: that failed to happen in this case and clubs must understand that they are the organisations bets placed to cure this disease," he said.

"Club leaderships should also set an example of zero tolerance and if they fail to do so, we would urge Unions to act as the EPRU, and punish those who fail to live up to their responsibilities,” he added.

He also said that the verbal or physical violence against a referee or match official is a very serious offence, adding that “no sympathy would be shown for those who attack referees.”

"There is absolutely no reason why anyone involved should lay a finger on a referee - least of all in a club game. If it does not happen in the most pressured environment of Test or Vodacom Super Rugby, why should it happen on a Saturday afternoon at a club game?"

 

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