PNG league official will be banned after attacking ref
PNG Sports Minister says rugby league official who attacked a referee will feel the full force of the law.
The Papua New Guinea Sports Minister says a local rugby league official should be banned for life after attacking a referee at the end of the Digicel Cup final in Port Moresby.
The Agmark Gurias beat the Simbu Lions 26-18 at Sir John Guise Stadium.
The game ended in controversy when a fan threw a beer can at one of the visiting referees from Queensland and a member of the Simbu team also attacked an official.
Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko told Vinnie Wylie the offenders will be dealt with severely.
JUSTIN TKATCHENKO: The unfortunate incident at the end of the game was due to alcohol-related fans. Some of them had snuck in intoxicated and think that the referee is the cause of their loss. Well it's not - that official from the losing side was arrested, put in the Boroko cells and will face the full front of the law. I've demanded that that official never play or be part of rugby league, Digicel Cup ever again because of his disgraceful behaviour. We can not tolerate this sort of rubbish anymore and we will not tolerate it.
VINNIE WYLIE: Did the fan get put in the cells as well or just the official?
JT: He unfortunately escaped in the crowd and there was over ten thousand people there. I think they know who he is [so] they'll be able to track him down.
VW: So there was no alcohol on sale at the venue - they've just come in drunk of their own accord?
JT: Absolutely. We do not sell any alcohol at any stadium at all in Papua New Guinea. It is totally no go: never mixes, it never should come together and that was a classic example at the end of the game when one official of the losing team tries to assault a neutral person like the umpire. Now these umpires are brought in [from Australia] without fear or favour. They don't know any of the sides, they don't know any of the officials and for idiots to try and accuse them of being biased is just absolutely stupid - they've got no idea.
VW: You mentioned a fan coming on and you also mentioned an official. Was it both that assaulted the referee, did one do it first or how did it happen?
JT: The fan who was drunk threw a beer can full of alcohol at the umpire - another one threw a bottle of water - but the official was not drunk, he was just stupid, upset that they lost and wanted to take it out on the umpire.
VW: So what are the ramifications for this?
JT: The Digicel Cup officials and those that are in charge of the competition - because it's a private competition - will assess the TNA Lions and see whether they are cancelled from the competition in the future [or] reprimanded. That's really Digicel's call but I believe they will get on top of this and put down the force of the law, especially on the official as well as the club itself. They need to have a look at the stadium-side of things - we need to up our security. We have to punish those and use them as examples of those that break the law and do these stupid acts because it spoils it for everybody. We just can't tolerate this anymore: we need to grow up, we need to change our attitudes and we need to be smarter about this.
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