Spitting the Dummy

A New Zealand Rugby Union player has received a decade long ban from the game for unleashing a torrent of obscenities before spitting into a referee’s face.   The incident at Lincoln Park, Ashurst, occurred just minutes before the full time whistle and quickly escalated following the issuing of a yellow card.

The Judiciary heard the Fielding Rugby Union Club player, Tipene Campbell, acting captain for the match, was enraged when one of his fellow players was yellow carded earlier in the match and decided to take it out on the referee.  Although Campbell was told to stop on several occasions, he continued to approach the referee and proceeded to spit directly into his face.  He was immediately issued with a red card and ordered from the field.

The Community Rugby League Manager, Martin Brady, told reporters, “The reality is if you want to abuse match officials, you are going to be dealt with severely”.

Campbell was found guilty by the Judiciary of swearing and spitting at the referee, and was subsequently banned from representative rugby union and is unable to take part in a rugby union match until 21 July 2025.

The decision highlights the respect demanded of on field officials, and the power of a Judiciary to make career ending decisions for unsportsmanlike conduct.

McLaughlins Lawyers is available to assist with all areas of Sports Law, including local or interstate tribunal disciplinary matters, including club, district level, and at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).