Physical abuse of any match official will land you into some big trouble in the game of rugby and rightly so, we do not need into our sport as World Rugby shown in suspending Vito Kolelishvili for 14 weeks.
Vito was cited by the match citing commissioner Mike Rafter for pushing the referee Wayne Barnes, in the Championship Cup round 5 ficture against Ospreys over the weekend.
If one look at Law 10.4 the Vito can count himself lucky that he did not get a heavier punishment as the entry point for this sanction start with a low end of 24 weeks, mid-range of 48 weeks and high-end of 96 weeks to life.
Any kind of abuse to any official in rugby should be punished severely as no one will want to see rugby become like football and the abuse referees have to go through on the pitch by players. verbal abuse is one thing but to push a referee is just asking for trouble and Vito unfortunately needs to get what is coming to him.
The independent Judicial Officer, David Martin (Ireland), heard evidence and submissions from Kolelishvili, who pleaded guilty to the offence, from Clermont Team Manager, Neil McIlroy, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
In upholding the citing complaint, the Judicial Officer found that Kolelishvili had committed an act of foul play that warranted a red card. He determined that the offence was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected 24 weeks as the appropriate entry point.
He added two weeks due to the player’s poor disciplinary record before reducing the sanction by half of the entry point taking into account Kolelishvili’s immediate apology to the referee, his subsequent remorse, guilty plea and good conduct at the hearing. He then imposed a suspension of 14 weeks.
Kolelishvili is free to play on Monday, 25 April 2016. Both the player and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.