PNG trying stop violence against refs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

PNG trying stop violence against refs

By Ilya Gridneff 26/09/2009 01:39:42 PM Comments (0)

Footy referees always get a lot of stick for their efforts but in footy-mad Papua New Guinea referees often literally get the stick.

This Sunday's annual clash between the Prime Minister XIII and PNG's national side, the Kumuls, is another chance for Australian players to experience what footy fever means for those in PNG.

But violence against PNG match officials has become so bad that the PNG rugby league is using the annual clash to promote better behaviour at games.

PNG Rugby League chairman Albert Veratau admitted violence was holding their local competitions back, especially as they try to enter a team into the NRL competition by 2012.

"Violence is not a problem every weekend but maybe about two," he said.

"Aggressiveness against the referees or the officials is always there".

Veratau said players and fans who worship the NRL should behave in similar fashion.

"None of the NRL guys chase the referees out of the ground or chase the linesman, none of that happens, we don't see that on television.

"If we don't see that in the NRL and high profile players why are we doing it?" he said.

Poor quality refereeing often led to fights but the league's greatest difficultly was attracting new referees, he said.

"Life is hard enough, to referee and then be chased or punched, why put yourself through that on a weekend?"

But it's not just game violence.

Every year in PNG the NRL's State of Origin series brings violence, crime and a well charted domestic violence spike.

This year four people, including the son of an Opposition government member, were killed in post-Origin violence.

So bad was the carnage across the country the Prime Minister Michael Somare told parliament he wanted to ban NRL coverage. He urged his people to support local teams and stop looking south.

Last year's Australian PM XII clash ended with police firing tear gas, a few live rounds and with sticks beating hundreds of kids who had invaded the pitch to get a closer glimpse of their heroes.

PM XIII captain Jonathan Thurston expected a brutal encounter on the field.

"The odds are always against Australia when we come up here, the ground is tough, the crowd is tough, the heat, and the game is a tough physical challenge," he said.

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