Who'd want to be a referee?
THE issue of protection for match officials in sport has once again been raised after a contentious judiciary decision was made on Monday night.
Leading Group 2 referee Adam Williams sent off Dunghutti player Koorin Campbell during their under-18 match on Sunday against Macksville for deliberately striking him, yet Campbell will be free to play again in two weeks' time.
Most people withing Group 2 circles that were contacted yesterday admitted that they are baffled by the length of the suspension and were concerned about what message this sends out to referees about the level of protection they can expect to receive from the Group.
During Monday night's hearing, Campbell pleaded guilty to a downgraded charge of accidentally striking a referee and was given the mandatory six-week suspension.
That sentence was reduced by one week as he pleaded guilty and a further three as the under-18 player had not appeared before the judiciary in the previous seven years.
The reason for the charge downgrade was due to inconsistencies between the evidence of the referee and one of his touch judges who gave evidence that said the strike was an accidental action despite admitting that he couldn't say which side of the face Williams was struck on or with which hand.
The judiciary has a policy that a player can expect to be either found not guilty or have a charge downgraded if there are major descrepancies in the evidence of the match officials.
Coffs Coast Advocate sources have revealed that Group 2 officials are privately seething at the judiciary's decision but are unable to do anything regarding the length of the suspension.
This is due to the Group's stance earlier in the season that club's cannot appeal against the severity of a sentence handed down by the judiciary.
The Broncos have taken it upon themselves to impose an extra week's suspension upon their young player as being suspended is in breach of the club's Players' Code of Conduct that they have introduced.