Red-carded player faces charges after assaulting referee

2012-04-10 00:00

PRETORIA — A rugby player from Hoërskool Hans Strijdom in Mookgophong (Naboomspruit) faces civil and criminal charges as well as a possible life ban from rugby after he head-butted a referee unconscious.

The referee, Chris de Beer (37) of the Blue Bulls Rugby Referees’ Society, was knocked unconscious for a few minutes, but was able, after an hour with an ice pack, to referee the main match of the Hansie Week tournament, in which 90 teams competed.

A disciplinary committee later banned the player from playing rugby for the rest of 2012.

De Beer, a sales representative from Pretoria, said he had laid a charge of assault at the Mookgophong police office and would meet with the referees’ society to discuss a possible civil claim.

“It was an extremely disappointing incident, but I could not stop refereeing. I do hope the guilty player gets an appropriate penalty, because no referee deserves to be assaulted,” said De Beer.

He said he refereed a match between the high schools Hans Strijdom and Alberton. “The match was without incident, was a good game, hard and tough, until Alberton started gaining the upper hand. About two minutes before the end of the match I sent off a player from Hans Strijdom with a red card for head-butting an Alberton player.

“After the match I walked to the player to confirm his number because I had to write a report over the incident. The boy then grabbed hold of me in the chest area, told me I blew a sh*t game and head-butted me.”

De Beer was unconscious for a few minutes and was treated on the field by a paramedic. He sat with an ice pack against his cheek for more than an hour, but was able to referee the main match about five hours later.

“I was also bitterly disappointed with the actions of the school and the organisers. Their principal only asked me if I was okay shortly before the final match.”

Kosie Horn, development officer for the referees’ society, said such incidents cannot be tolerated. He said the society was always struggling to recruit new referees, because more and more members stop refereeing because of the emotional assaults on them by parents, teachers and players.

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