Spectator violence leads to games suspension in Minj

There will be no more Digicel Cup games at the John Ambane Oval in Minj, Jiwaka Province, for the rest of the 2018 season.

This follows spectator violence during last Sunday’s Round 12 Digicel Cup match between Waghi Tumbe and Enga Mioks.

Papua New Guinea National Rugby League Competitions (PNGNRLC) board chairman, Adrian Chow, said this decision was made following recommendations by the Match Review Committee. 

“The Match Review Committee has dealt with the on field incidents involving Waghi Tumbe coach Francis Ray and his players Bess Danny and Sipa Koren and the three have been penalised over their actions,” Chow said. “During the 2nd half of the game, the discharge of a firearm into the air sparked violence among the spectators which was off field, which the PNGNRLC Board convened to deliberate on,” he said.

He said the following Board decisions become effective immediately:

1.            The three remaining games for the 2018 to be played at the John Ambane Oval in Minj, Jiwaka Province are suspended;

2.            All games scheduled for Minj will now be played at the visiting team’s home venue. Therefore, this weekend’s Round 13 game between Waghi Tumbe and Mendi Muruks will be played at Mendi.

3.            The remaining Chimbu Warriors home games at Minj will also be played away – at the visiting team’s home venue. 

4.            A warning letter is written to the Waghi Tumbe Board and club to control the number of people on the interchange bench at all remaining games. Only authorised personnel are allowed on the interchange bench.   

5.            Enga Mioks must identify their supporter, a police officer who fired a shot that provoked the crowd to react by throwing missiles onto the field. The Mioks must within seven days from today (June 28) show cause to the PNGNRLC Board for its review and decision. Failure to do so will mean a fine of K5,000 or lose competition points.

Chow said the suspension of games at Mendi following the unrest has been lifted.

“The suspension was provisional and temporary. This has been lifted effective immediately,” Chow said. “We have reviewed the situation on the ground and with the presence of Defence and Police personnel, the Board felt it was safe now to host games in Mendi.”

Chow said if there was any way rugby league can help restore stability and normalcy during these trying times  to the province, “our contribution is to bring the game back to Mendi so the people are engaged in entertainment and recreation rather than having nothing to do and resorting to violence and other unnecessary and illegal activities”.    

Chow stressed that there is no place for violence in rugby league.

“The game is for mothers, sisters and families to attend and enjoy,” he said. “We don’t want to see violence of any form whatsoever in this game. There is no place for violence in any sport for that matter.”

He said the PNGNRLC is now under a new board and management structure and has a new constitution, rules and regulations.

(Waghi Tumbe filepic)

Press release