WATCH: The disgraceful assault on referee that resulted in historic 96-week ban
An unnamed Perth Bayswater has recently been handed the longest ban possible under World Rugby laws after assaulting a referee in a RugbyWA Premier Grade match.
The player was caught on film deliberately smashing into and flooring the referee, Ian Sunderland, on April 22 while playing against Associates. Sunderland was helped back to his feet by Associates players, and looked as though he did not suffer anything serious.
The player has now been banned for 96 weeks worth of matches, which is effectively a five year ban, for what was deemed to be a deliberate attack. No player in professional rugby has ever received a ban longer than that, and it is hard to imagine anything that could warrant a longer ban while not ending up in a criminal court.
Take a look at the incident:
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A RugbyWA statement read: “RugbyWA can confirm the suspension of a Perth Bayswater Rugby Club player under the charge of physical abuse of a Match Official (under Law 9.28).
“The suspension follows an incident from a Premier Grade game on 22 April 2023 – a RugbyWA Judicial Committee finding the player guilty.
“Due to the high-end and deliberate nature of the offence, a sanction of 96 weeks – effectively, almost five years – was handed down.”
RugbyWA CEO Simon Taylor said, “We strongly condemn any form of abuse or harassment towards Match Officials, and are determined to ensure that any such behaviour is stamped out of the game.
“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.”