So, THIS HAPPENED. A referee got blindsided by a very large player during a Division II game.
The incident occured during the Fort Lauderdale vs Orlando game on 2.6.2016, involving a Fort Lauderdale player and the officiating referee.
The attached file contains all the details of the case as it was investigated by the Florida Rugby Union and USA Rugby:
Click to download the PDF file of the proceedings by FRU and USA Rugby.
The publication of these documents is done under the Article VII of the Florida Rugby Union By Laws that say: "No later than twenty-four (24) hours after the completion of the D/C hearing, the D/C Chair shall issue the findings of guilt or innocence and any resulting sanction, notice of which shall be given to the Accused, her club, the President and the Secretary. The findings and any sanctions are public and shall be placed upon the Union’s website and retained in the records of the Union."
The reason I did not publish this before was mostly because I wanted to let the legal process take it's course and be able to present all the facts, not just the video.
It goes without saying that I have no personal issues with anybody involved. But being this such a sensitive and core issue in our sport, the respect for the referee, I have no choice but to make this public. It is a very unfortunate incident, but hiding it does no good to the sport.
Here is a summary of how the process played out:
Initially, the FRU Disciplanary Chair handed out a 96 week suspension, but as no red card was issued (the referee actually did not have a chance to see what happened during the game), the case was treated in a Disciplinary Committee following World Rugby Regulation 17.11.1 (b) iv.
The comite's sanction resulted in a 2 week or 2 matches suspension the club was placed on probation for a year.
Fort Lauderdale appealed the decision and the case went to USA Rugby. An Appeal Officer was appointed and after the hearings and all the testimonies from all parties, on February 29, 2016, the Appeal Officer decided on a a suspension of 32 weeks or games.
Fort Lauderdale appealed this decision, which is under way at the time of this publication.
Here is the video of the incident: