Sport: PNG League fans who killed Joe Pidik a "disgrace" - Minister

12:13 pm on 8 September 2016

The Papua New Guinea Sports Minister says those responsible for the death of a man following a rugby league match should receive the full force of the law.

Joe Pidik died in hospital after being hit on the head with a brick thrown by Mt Hagen Eagles supporters outside Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby, following the team's Digicel Cup semi final defeat by the Agmark Gurias last month.

The Agmark Gurias and Mount Hagen Eagles during Saturday's Digicel Cup semi-final, which ended with the referee being attacked by a team official.

The Agmark Gurias and Mount Hagen Eagles during Saturday's Digicel Cup semi-final, which ended with the referee being attacked by a team official. Photo: Facebook / Digicel in Rugby League

A brawl had started after the final whistle when a Mt Hagen official attacked the referee.

Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko said the death of Joe Pidik made the incident much more serious.

PNG Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko.

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

"When you have an innocent death of anybody from the spin-offs of the violence that was caused from that particular match, of course it has much bigger ramifications and a death of a young man who has got a wife and a young child, it's a big thing, and it's totally unnecessary and uncalled for," he said.

"The police are now putting in a full investigation to find the culprits that actually killed this young man who died from his injuries. And it just puts a very sour and bitter taste and just destroys the whole good feeling of the game.

"We have to ensure that those found to be guilty of this particular crime, especially of the death of this young man, must get the full force of the law. We're talking death here, we're not talking about an injury. We're talking the life of a human being and that is just totally unacceptable, it's just a disgrace."

Mount Hagen trainer Stanley Akinu has since been banned for life by the PNG National Rugby League board for attacking the referee, while the Western Highlands franchise has been suspended from the Digicel Cup for three years.

A number of players were also banned.

All parties having two weeks to appeal.

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