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Stormers 'guilty' of misconduct

Wed, 15 May 2013 08:42
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Insulting and offensive behaviour
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The Stormers were given a slap on the wrist after being found guilty of misconduct and bringing the game into disrepute.

They were fine a total of AU$25,000 (about ZAR228,450) and also ordered to pay SANZAR’s costs.

A SANZAR judicial hearing, conducted by Terry Willis (Australia), on Wednesday found the Stormers guilty of misconduct under the SANZAR Code of Conduct.

This follows charges of "insulting and offensive" conduct towards match officials during the Stormers versus Hurricanes match on April 26.

The hearing, which was adjourned twice last week, was the result of a complaint by assistant referee Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri - who claimed he was subjected to "constant criticism" for the duration of the match, including being told he needed to go back to club rugby.

According to 3 News Eden-Whaitiri accused Stormers officials of calling him a 'cheat', subjecting him to constant swearing and abuse including the suggestion that he should go back to club rugby and that he had a cross on a chest for his performance as an assistant referee in Palmerston North.

The SANZAR hearing found the Stormers brought the game into disrepute and breached Section 8.3 of the SANZAR Code of Conduct:
a) All persons must ensure the game is played and conducted in accordance with disciplined and sporting behaviour and acknowledge that it is not sufficient to reply solely upon the match officials to maintain those principles;
l) All persons shall not use crude or abusive language or gestures towards referees, assistant referees, match officials or spectators.

The Stormers admitted their behaviour and accepted, that insulting and offensive conduct towards match officials was a breach of the SANZAR Code of Conduct and has no place in the game and has unreservedly apologised to the match officials and Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri in particular.

The Stormers Team have been fined the maximum financial penalty of AU$15,000 [about ZAR 137,000] for the insulting and offensive conduct towards match officials and AU$10,000 [about ZAR93,000] for bringing the game into disrepute and also ordered to pay SANZAR’s costs.

The hearing resumed on Wednesday, following extended adjournments to allow the Stormers Team to seek independent legal advice in the interests of fairness to all parties - after Adam Casselden, the initial judicial officer, had to withdraw from the process due to concerns that a fair hearing was no longer possible, because of somebody head leaked certain information to him.

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