Referee attacked in kids' match
Undated, from an Associated Press correspondent in Auckland, New Zealand
A referee handling an under-10 rugby league game in New Zealand was punched and kicked to the ground when he ended the match early because the game was becoming too violent.
A man has been charged with assault and faces a ban from attending matches following the incident at suburban Papakura yesterday in which referee Neil Galvin suffered bruises and abrasions to his face and a large footmark on his chest.
Police said today that Galvin was attacked by supporters of the Ellerslie under-10s team which was winning easily when he called a halt to the game, ruling there were too many cheap fouls being committed.
Galvin's 10-year-old son Jesse and other children began crying when they saw Galvin being kicked by several spectators.
Ellerslie was leading Papakura 60-0 when Galvin ended the game a few minutes early. He had already sent off one boy after two warnings for head-high tackles.
"But the tension built up on the sideline and it started to reflect in the game," he said. "The sideline started to get loud and aggressive. They were saying, 'Go out and smash 'em, waste 'em.'
"It got to the point where it was getting out of hand, I called, 'Time over, you win'."
Then, he said, "the sideline came over, swept me off my feet, bowled me over and punched and kicked me when I was on the ground." Galvin said he was more upset for his son and other children who saw the attack.
"When I walked into the clubrooms they were all crying," said Galvin.
"My son doesn't cry much, but he really broke down. I've never seen him that upset.
"The kids felt guilty because they thought it all started because they weren't good enough. I apologized to them all for what happened and I tried to explain."
A 38-year-old man will appear in Papakura District Court tomorrow.
Charges against other spectators are expected.