Vainī rugby coach, Venili Vailea, who allegedly punched a referee three times during a rugby match has been banned from the sport for life by the Tonga Rugby Sub-Union committee.
Vailea will never step foot on the field again after his attack left referee Tokomea ‘Ofahulu with minor injuries.
Vaha’i Nau, one of the Vainī rugby players, has been banned for the rest of this year’s rugby union tournament games after he allegedly touched the referee’s hand in an attempt to look at his wristwatch to find out about the time during the controversial game.
The committee has also imposed on Vainī Rugby Union club a fine of TP$4,000 for contravening the rules that govern the Tonga Rugby Union clubs.
The committee made its decisions in a meeting yesterday Tuesday 26 and demanded the fine must be paid in full before this Saturday 30, according to a letter from the Committee seen by Kaniva News.
The letter was addressed to the Vainī rugby club manager Hon Tēvita ‘Unga.
The Vainī rugby team could be banned from the rest of this year’s Tongatapu seasonal rugby tournament games if it failed to pay the fine, the letter said.
The Vainī rugby union team could also be demoted next year to play at level two grade if they could not pay the fine.
A spokesperson for the Vainī team told Kaniva News they will appeal the Committee’s decisions.
He claimed they had filed a formal complaint with the Committee against referee ‘Ofahulu and how he officiated the game. He said the complaint was submitted before the Committee’s meeting yesterday.
The decisions came after ‘Ofahulu who officiated a rugby match between the Vainī team and the Toa Ko Ma’afu rugby team was allegedly attacked.
It is understood the Vainī team and their supporters were unhappy with how ‘Ofahulu controlled the game on Saturday 16.
It appeared the incident occurred after ‘Ofahulu blew the final whistle and ended the game while the Vainī team was attacking. The match ended in a draw.
An eyewitness alleged there was still time after the final whistle was blown and the timekeeper did not indicate to the referee to end the second half.