Racial abuse on the increase at clubs

2012-06-02 16:46

‘It cannot be denied, I was there. I was the one who incurred the abuse. I was really upset’

The Golden Lions Rugby Union referee who was racially abused on the field of play by a fan says the incident will not affect him.

Sello Selepe said he was now more determined to realise his dream of officiating at the highest level. But he admitted he would never again officiate in any club match involving the Krugersdorp High School Old Boys Association (Khosa).

Selepe told City Press: “I did not take the incident well at all. When I left the field I was furious. It was not the first time I was verbally abused in a rugby match, but this one was serious.

“I am still determined to officiate at the highest level. Refereeing is my passion and I will not let the incident get me down or stop me from doing what I love. Though, I will never officiate a match involving Khosa.”

He said he was surprised that the Khosa club members who were present when he was racially abused kept quiet during the match and just watched.

“They kept quiet. They just looked on, kept quiet and didn’t say anything,” he said.

Selepe said one of the club’s supporters came up to him after the match between Khosa and Soweto Rugby Club two weeks ago and called him a k****r.

Pieter Visser, community rugby general manager at Golden Lions, said his rugby union was notified about the incident. He said the union’s anti-racism committee will convene on Wednesday to discuss the incident.

However, Khosa chairperson Richard de Villiers, whom Selepe said witnessed the incident, denied the racism allegations levelled at his club.

Selepe said: “It cannot be denied, I was there. I was the one who incurred the abuse.

I was really upset but I had to control myself and refer the matter to the union and not take it into my own hands.”

Racial abuse incidents at club rugby level have been on the increase this year.

A Hoërskool Hans Strijdom pupil was banned for three years for head-butting referee Chris de Beer. Also, first team assistant coach Schalk Snyman of Hoërskool Dr EG Jansen shoulder-charged referee Mlungiseleli Mdashe during a fixture between his school and Kempton Park High.

South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins sent out a strongly-worded statement recently condemning these silly and racial incidents.

But Selepe said clubs needed to do more to protect referees. “If a club can take responsibility for their fans and tell them what to and not to do, then it could be fixed. There are some clubs who are preventing it.

This is something that filters down from management.”

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