South Africa
Club coach handed life ban for referee assault
ESPN Staff
April 9, 2014

A coach based in South Africa has been banned for life after he assaulted a referee.

Vaal Reefs Rugby club's second team coach Hennie van der Heever assaulted referee Godwil Marobe at a league match between Vaal Reefs and Klerksdorp Akari on March 22, 2014. His hearing was heard by the Leopards Rugby Union and he was "suspended for life from all forms of the game", a decision which was welcomed by the South Africa Rugby Union's CEO Jurie Roux.

"We have been calling for a tough approach to referee abuse and this incident at the Leopards, and the way in which the union dealt with the matter, underlines our message.

"Two years ago our president, Oregan Hoskins, wrote to all 14 provincial unions and reiterated that players and coaches found guilty of assaulting referees should expect to be banned from the game for life.

"We urged the unions' disciplinary committees to take the strongest possible action against any individuals under their jurisdiction who physically or verbally abused match officials. This message has now been properly underlined by the Leopards and we commend them on taking such a tough stance.

"Although attacks on match officials, either physically or verbally, are rare, we need to stamp it out completely. Such actions will not be tolerated in South African rugby. People need to be banned and they need to be banned for life."

Van der Heever and his club can appeal the ban.

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