By Harsha Amarasinghe
Zahira College were left fuming after their head coach Shamly Nawaz was issued a yellow card and not allowed to be on the bench for the most of the game by referee Aruna Shantha during the Inter-School League Rugby Tournament match between St. Joseph’s College and Zahira College which was concluded at Maradana on Saturday.
Josephian claimed a relatively comfortable 26-12 victory, but the highlight of the game was a yellow card shown to Nawaz by referee Shantha, apparently for dissent.
“Actually, the referee was making notable mistakes and did not know the rules of rucks. Josephians were off-side and I was pointing that out. At no point I verbally abused the referee, and all I said at the time was ‘side entry.’ He informed me through the captain that he was giving me a yellow card because I was telling him the rules,” Nawaz said during an interview with Daily Mirror.
The former CR and FC captain was offered a chair to sit right behind the match commissioner after the yellow card, but he had then been told to leave the field by the referee.
“I don’t know why I had to leave the ground because it was a yellow card, and in general you only have to get out of the stadium if it is a red card,” added the Zahira head coach.
However, the President of Sri Lanka Society of Rugby Football Referees (SLSRFR), Nizam Jamaldeen clarified that the ‘yellow card’ was only an indication and the referee has all the right to send off a player or a coach.
“It was not like issuing a yellow card for a player. In this incident the yellow card was shown as an indication that he has to leave the field. The referee can send off a coach for misbehaviour and it’s included in the Technical Zone Management,” Jamaldeen stated.
Meanwhile, the former rugby referee and one of the leading rugby experts Dilroy Fernando stated that a ‘yellow card’ was a wrong call although the referee has right to send off the coach.
“The referee certainly has the power to send off a coach if the person is misbehaving but showing a yellow card was a wrong call because as we all understand yellow card means ten minutes in the sin-bin,” Fernando told Daily Mirror.