From: www.rugby365.com:

SA Referees suspend touch judges

Friday 02nd November 2007

South African referees have suspended two touch judges, Deon van Blommestein and Louis Mzomba, after a wrong decision in the Currie Cup semi-final between the Blue Bulls and the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Van Blommestein and Mzomba, both experienced referees, were touch judges at the semi-final refereed by Craig Joubert. Just before half-time, Derick Hougaard kicked a long kick at goal from a penalty. The ball dipped just over the crossbar. The touch judges, each perfectly placed at a goalpost each and therefore just under the crossbar, did not signal the kick over but pointed towards the ball when it went over the dead-ball line. The result was a drop-out to the Cheetahs.

The SA Referees discussed the matter, and the referees’ manager AndrĂ© Watson had a conference call with the two touch judges concerned. SA Referees then issued the following judgement:

“In reviewing the incident the committee found DVD/video evidence that clearly showed that the kick did in fact go over. The committee found that the performance by the two touch judges was not what was expected at this level and that the action – or non-action – bordered on negligence of the primary duties of touch judging.

“Accordingly, the review committee has decided to implement the following measures:

“1. That the two touch judges be removed from duties at this level for one year with 9 months suspended till the end of 2008. This means that the two touch judges are suspended from touch judge duties for an effective 3-month period commencing on 1st January the 2008 and ending on 31st March 2008.

“2. Further, that both touch judges perform remedial duties in terms of providing the manager of SA referees with a written report during the above 3-month period on the performances of touch judges in the Super 14 and Vodacom Cup competitions. They will be required to view one game per weekend and provide a report.

“The SA Referees Department would like to extend its sincere apology to the players, coaches and officials involved and indeed to the entire rugby public of SA, whilst ensuring all of its best intention to prevent similar incidents in the future. The two touch judges involved, expressed their remorse.”

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