Local fans have bad attitude, says Opi

Normal, Sports

The National, Friday November 8th, 2013

 AGGRIEVED rugby league  Referee Guma Opi said fans in Papua New Guinea had no respect for match officials.

“When a white referee makes a mistake, you hardly find anyone attacking him. But it’s different with local referees, the moment that one does a mistake, everyone gets on them and in my case, I was assaulted,” Opi said. 

“It’s funny how these white referees never get bashed up for the same reasons. I think its because Papua New Guineans have an attitude problem. They have no respect for us local referees. That is the whole reason why younger referees, who show interest and attend coaching clinics never run a game in fear of getting bashed up.

“I will not stop until justice is served,” Opi added, referring to the duo who assaulted him. 

Opi said he stuck by his decision because that was a referee’s primary role to call the play and manage the game. 

Meanwhile, Opi’s doctor has advised him to take soft food for some time. 

The 57-year-old was punch and kicked after the Port Moresby rugby league grand final was abandoned last Sunday.

Opi is expected to file a formal police report and have the two men who assualted him charged.  

He also revealed that NCD Metropolitan Commander Andy Bawa, was a member of the PNG Rugby League Referees Association as well as the chairman of the PNGRFL judiciary committee. 

Opi hoped Bawa would play a bigger role in ending the violence against referees by fans and team officials.