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Richards Bay, KZN - The Richards Bay rugby club spectator who racially abused and assaulted an opposition player and coach has been handed a stadium ban and would not be allowed at any of their home games, the club said this week.
Richards Bay Rugby Club chairman Desmond Hibbert said the man had been told of the ban.
The Daily News reported earlier this month that racial slurs, rough play and the assault of an injured Jaguars Rugby Club’s player – who was receiving medical attention at the time – had taken place in Richards Bay, where the two teams were playing.
The same spectator racially abused a black Jaguars coach and refused him entry to the venue’s public toilets.
As punishment, the rugby union announced last week that the Richards Bay club would forfeit their June 30 home fixture and all other remaining games this year until they had drawn up an action plan stating how they would curb spectator trouble.
Hibbert asked whether it was fair to punish the whole community for the bad behaviour of someone who wasn’t even a member of the club.
He said the club had appealed the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union’s verdict, which found the club guilty of failing to provide adequate spectator control, assault and racism.
KZNRU president Graham MacKenzie confirmed that Richards Bay had appealed the verdict and said the matter would go before the rugby union’s appeal committee next week.
Commenting on racism in club rugby, MacKenzie said such incidents would continue to occur if they weren’t dealt with effectively and fairly. He said it was part of the transformation process to have such obstacles and said it was important to quash any racialism in the game.
“We are trying to get rid of this (racism). We need people to mature and learn to embrace each other. Until then, we will continue to have these incidents,” he said.
“If we ignore it (racial issues), we are looking for trouble,” he said.
MacKenzie said he had received a letter from Khetha Mabaso, the Jaguars chairman, that questioned the leniency of the sentence.
Mabaso said last week that he’d ask to review the matter and even appeal if necessary.
However, MacKenzie said, according to the KZNRU and SA Rugby Union constitutions, the Jaguars would not be permitted to appeal the sentence. - Daily News