Coleraine Rugby Club fined £5,000 following investigation of verbal abuse to referee

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Coleraine Rugby Club has been fined £5,000 by the Ulster Branch - IRFU following allegations a female referee was verbally abused at the club last season.

It brings to an end a long running dispute where the Ulster Society of Rugby Referees boycotted fixtures at the club.

It is understood an initial sanction imposed by rugby authorities was not acceptable to the referees body.

A further review was undertaken by the IRFU which has led to the impasse now being resolved

A spokesperson for the the Co Londonddery club said, on the BBC Sport NI website: “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.

“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.”

The USRFR, in a statement, said: “Our interest is the protection of our volunteer members and we are assured by the branch that they are actively reviewing measures to ensure their future well-being.”

It is believed that £2,000 of the £5,000 fine will be returned to the club if there are no further incidents at the club in the next two years.