An office-bearer with a Scottish rugby club has been suspended from attending any games involving his club for 16 weeks after he was found to have abused match officials.
Paul Di Rollo, President of Watsonian FC, appeared before Scottish Rugby’s independent Discipline Panel to answer a misconduct charge following the RBS National League match between Stewart’s-Melville FP and Watsonians on Saturday 19 October.
The panel found that Mr Di Rollo:
• entered the field to question the referee, Gary Gordon, immediately after the match and persisted in so doing despite being asked to desist by match officials who reminded him of the “20 minutes cooling-off period” in Scottish Rugby’s Code of Conduct
• acted in an abusive and intimidating manner by pushing one of the assistant referees on the field
• treated the referee and the assistant referees in a manner which showed a lack of respect for their authority.
The panel, chaired by Rod McKenzie, upheld the misconduct complaint against Mr Di Rollo in that he:
• breached Rules 13.3.1 and 13.3.2 of the SRU Disciplinary Rules by acting in an abusive, intimidating and offensive manner towards match officials
• breached clause 4 of the SRU Code of Conduct by failing to accept and observe the authority and decisions of match officials;
• breached clause 11 of the SRU Code of Conduct by abusing and intimidating match officials; and
• breached clause 15 of the SRU Code of Conduct by failing to abide by the SRU Protocols for Clubs, Coaches and Players by attempting to discuss contentious issues emanating from the game with the referee within 20 minutes of the final whistle.
The panel suspended Mr Di Rollo for 16 weeks up to and including February 19, 2014 from attending any matches involving a Watsonian FC team; and excluded him from attending any rugby grounds at which matches involving Watsonian FC first XV are being played from two hours before kick-off until two hours after the final whistle.
Graham Ireland, Scottish Rugby’s Head of Regulation said: “Abuse of match officials has no part in our game. We advised clubs at our most recent AGM and earlier this season, in the strongest possible terms, that such abuse will not be tolerated. The panel’s finding should act as a salutary reminder to all in the game of our seriousness in eradicating such behaviour. “
Mr Di Rollo has the right of appeal provided he lodges it within seven days.