Violence mars PNG Digicel Cup semi final
The Digicel Cup semi final clash between Mt Hagen Eagles and Rabaul Gurias ended in bloody violence at the weekend.
The game, held at the Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby, saw a match official punched and a massed pitch invasion by fans.
The incident was sparked by an Eagles coach punching the referee, before Eagles fans ran on and started fighting with other fans and some opposing players.
Police officers intervened by using tear gas, and some were even forced to draw their guns as the trouble intensified.
PNG sports minister Justin Tkatchenko spoke out in condemnation of the behaviourr of the Eagles officials and supporters.
“The primitive and the uneducated action of the Hagen Eagles officials and supporters must be condemned at the highest level,” he told media in PNG.
“I will be directing in the strongest terms that the officials involved be banned for life from ever participating in Rugby League again and that a criminal investigation be carryout to arrest those that assaulted the umpires and players.
“I will do my best working with the PNGRFL to ensure new and tougher penalties are put in place so this disgusting behavior hopefully never happens again.”
Tkatchenko is also fearful that the events may have implications for PNG hosting three matches at next year’s World Cup.
“I haven’t met the new RLWC CEO Andrew Hill yet, but I will have to brief him on the incident at the Digicel Cup, it brings question marks to our capability of hosting this event,” he added.
“This is not a small thing this has caused a huge problem for us on the international scene, the stupidity of this person and this act has damaged us in more ways than one.”