A fine of £5000 has been handed to Coleraine Rugby Club by Ulster Rugby after a female referee was verbally abused. The incident took place last season in a match against Dromore.
Speaking on the sanction given to Coleraine RFC, a spokesperson said;
“Following a recommendation by the review panel, the IRFU Ulster Branch has imposed a fine on Coleraine RFC. This sanction has been accepted by the club. While the Coleraine RFC issue is now closed, the IRFU Ulster Branch is actively considering how to promote respect for referees.”
The verbal abuse is believed to have been of a sexist nature. After the incident in protest rugby referees refused to take part in any of the clubs home matched. This protest, which began after the incident earlier this year in March has now ended.
Without direct reference to the incident involving the referee in question the club had the following to say;
“Coleraine Rugby Club is pleased that there has been a resolution to the long-running dispute involving rugby’s Ulster Branch Referees Society and the club,” a spokesperson said. The club has accepted the decision of the Ulster Branch review into this matter. We are now looking forward to giving a warm welcome to all referees and teams visiting our club for matches this week and in the future.”
Grainne Crabtree, the referee in question, is an ex City of Derry player. It is not yet known if Crabtree has received an apology which was one of two issues raised by last month by the Ulster rugby referees, with the other being a concern over the lack of disciplinary action taken by the club over this matter.
Despite these concerns, both parties seem to want to move forward.