6 Jun 2017

Canterbury Rugby Union investigates racial abuse complaint

6:46 pm on 6 June 2017

The Canterbury Rugby Union is investigating a complaint that a women was racially abused by a man believed to be a coach at a Christchurch rugby club.

The Shirley Rugby Club is meeting tonight to discuss allegations that a grandmother of a player in a junior team was sworn at in a carpark by a man understood to be a coach at the club.

Canterbury Rugby Union chief executive Nathan Godfrey told Checkpoint with John Campbell it got the complaint from the woman yesterday morning.

"Now we're in a position where we can follow through in process and that process includes a complaints review officer who has been appointed to the case," he said.

"They're currently investigating and once we have all the facts on the table we'll follow that through and certainly take action where appropriate."

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Mr Godfrey said the lack of communication was disappointing. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

Mr Godfrey said he was hoping the investigation would be completed within a week.

He first became aware of the situation on Friday morning via social media, but there had been no communication with the woman or the club for the last week and a half, he said.

"So we're really disappointed given that we launched the 'We All Bleed Red' campaign at the start of the season ... Yeah, really disappointing because that was about raising awareness and making sure that we speak up and neither of those things have happened."

A letter signed by the Shirley Rugby Club secretary responded to the complainant saying "because the altercation happened in a public carpark Shirley Rugby does not feel this warrants any further investigation".

But Mr Godfrey said for the club to suggest that it happened in a public carpark, if that was indeed the case, was "lacking in action" and he would have liked all the parties to come together to have a conversation.

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