Sport: Minister backs ban for PNG rugby league club

1:52 pm on 12 October 2015

The Papua New Guinea Sports Minister is backing a two year ban handed down to the TNA Lions rugby league team, after members of the team attacked a referee.

The Lions were beaten by the Agmark Gurias in last month's Digicel Cup domestic final in Port Moresby.

After the game ended a drunk fan threw a beer can at one of the referees and members of the Simbu team also attacked an official.

The club has been fined 75,000 kina and banned from competing in the Digicel Cup for two years.

Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko supports the punishment and says teams have to be responsible for their players, officials and supporters.

"I fully endorse what they've done. I think the penalty is fantastic and the ban clearly shows that they're not going to muck around with that sort of thing and I fully endorse that. The two players that assaulted the umpires have been also given a two year ban of playing rugby league".

The Simbu club has appealed the decision and Justin Tkatchenko admits he has some sympathy for the team.

"Personally I would like TNA Lions to stay in - it's a new and up and coming team - but they need to take account of their players and officials and they need to get their management right. The last thing I want to see is all these teams being kicked out because they're misbehaving and not doing the right thing. We need to use this as an example of what will happen to you if this continues to go down this path. [It's a] very very unfortunate incident but we need to take the hard line and make sure that people understand if you want to muck around, you don't want to do the right thing [then] this is what's going to happen?"

PNG Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko.

PNG Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko. Photo: Facebook / Hon Justin W Tkatchenko MP