Rugby referees to resume blowing at School matches

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The Sri Lanka Society of Rugby Football Referees (SLSRFR) yesterday confirmed they have decided to resume officiating at school games with immediate effect. Rugby referees had recently taken a decision to boycott schools matches after one of their referees was assaulted by Trinity spectators after the annual S. Thomas’ versus Trinity match at Havelock Park.

SLSRFR and Trinity College released a joint statement yesterday ending the dispute. 

In a media release, SLSRFR said at the request of the Principal of Trinity College, Kandy, Rev. Fr. Araliya Jayasundara OSB, the Committee met him on Monday, 11 April 2022. The meeting was in relation to the post-match physical assault on match officials at the Canon De Saram Trophy Rugby match between S. Thomas’ College and Trinity College on 26 March at Havelock Park. 

During the cordial discussion, the participants gave serious consideration to all areas of concern and on/off-field causes that led to this unacceptable incident. The members present identified all instances and individuals that brought the game of rugby to disrepute, which prompted the SLSRFR to temporarily suspend officiating at games anticipating the action taken by Trinity College, Kandy.

The Principal of Trinity explained in detail the efforts they have taken and the SLSRFR Committee was pleased with the restorative interventions taken by Trinity College. Both parties emphasised the need to promote the game of Rugby and take all measures to prevent such unfortunate incidents in the future and to ensure the safety of match officials at all costs. Hopefully, this joint effort will send a clear message to the players, school officials, spectators and all other stakeholders of Rugby that any such behaviour is not accepted in any sport or society.

Hence, the Committee had decided to resume officiating at school games with immediate effect. However, the SLSRFR Committee proposed to have a meeting with Sri Lanka Schools’ Rugby Football Association [SLSRFA] prior to any future tournament on the need to establish clear guidelines to prevent incidents of this nature. A firm commitment from all stakeholders on the safety of officials was also emphasised as a pre-requisite, as the current suspension of activities by SLSRFR, was only a provisional decision anticipating restorative measures. Both the President of SLSRFR Dinka Peiris and Fr. Araliya Jayasundara OSB expressed their commitment towards achieving high standards of Rugby in Sri Lanka. 

A court case in relation to the post match physical assault had been filed against the alleged individuals by the Narahenpita Police on behalf of SLSRFR.