By Harsha Amarasinghe
Sri Lanka Society of Rugby Football Referees (SLSRFR) are set to boycott any rugby game involving Wesley College following a massive brawl that erupted after the league leaders Royal College claimed a narrow 18-17 victory over Wesley College at Longdon Place on Saturday.
Daily Mirror understands that referee Dinka Peiris, who officiated the game left the field in the end without having to face any physical confrontations, but was subjected verbal abuse since the moment the game was halted for eight minutes.
“We have temporarily taken a decision to not send our referees to any rugby match where Wesley College is involved as the home team or away team at any age group. Their behaviour during the game between Royal College and Wesley College was highly disrespectful and embarrassing,” SLSRFR President Nazim Jamaldeen told Daily Mirror.
However, when contacted by Daily Mirror, SLSRFA Secretary, Nirodha Wijerama stated that they have not yet received any written document from SLSRFR over their decision.
Meanwhile, a source close to the Wesley Rugby Committee revealed that they had previously sent a letter to the SLSRFA requesting not to include Dinka Pieris as the match referee to this game.
“What actually happened there was that our spectators were unhappy at some of the mistakes the referee made during this game and after the final whistle our supporters were shouting at the referee and that was when a section of Royal supporters came towards us. It was at that moment the incident erupted which was unfortunate, and if they stayed away, this may not have happened,
“Last year we actually sent a letter to SLSRFA stating that we don’t want him to officiate our games because he made some eight or nine mistakes during one of our games. He has been officiating the Royal-Wesley game for last three years,” the sourced revealed.
Meanwhile, SLSRFA President Ranjith Chandrasekara expressed his disappointment over the incident and claimed that the games which are scheduled to be played at Longden Place could be shifted to Sugathadasa Stadium considering the ‘safety.’
“I am hugely disappointed at what happened during the game (Royal-Wesley) and we are considering the possibilities of shifting games to Sugathadasa Stadium for the safety of players, referees and spectators. If you look at venues like Science College and Maliyadeva, they don’t really have a fence and even at CR and FC, it’s not strong enough,” Chandrasekara stated.