There has been no crowing of champions despite the Caltex league being over last week. It is understood that even if they forfeit the points for its match against CH, Kandy still are clear winners. With the SLRFU disciplinary committee yet to sit on the case of Kandy violating the tournament committee directive a decision is still on the balance. Kandy has obtained a stay order denying the cup being given to another. This apparently does not impede the disciplinary committee sitting to deliberate. The disciplinary committee will sit after the council meeting. The points table as it stands without the points for the Kandy CH games shows that Kandy are leading according to the SLRFU tournament director. What action that follows is a matter for the council. According to the Secretary of the SLRFU the issue will be placed at the council meeting for discussion and a decision.
The options that are open after a disciplinary hearing include (a) Warn and discharge (b) Not award points to Kandy and (c) Disqualify Kandy for violating the rules and or directive. Warn and discharge will be the least effective as well as the most unlikely outcome. Not to award points has no effect as Kandy will be winners even without these points. Yet it will have some sort of impact as others who will be wary of what can happen. To disqualify might be harsh for the lovers of the game on the hills. It may result in more ill feeling among the club the governing body as well as the other participants.
Meanwhile the SLRFU is getting ready for the Caltex knock out which is to commence on the 2nd of September. If the present table of points is accepted then the match that will be a close affair will be between CR who are fourth and Air Force who lay in 5th position. What if there is a challenge to the table position based on the unresolved current scenario. It is time that the bigger picture is considered by all concerned whether it is the governing body or the constituent clubs.
At the rate that people are taking issues to court there will be more issues sorted out backstage than on the field. What if a decision of the referee is challenged or reversed. Take for instance the published version of the decision taken by the schools section on the Vidyartha vs. St John’s match. There was a decision to limit the score to a point when the players started to walk off the field. As the referee played on, whether right or wrong, the decision is covered by the laws of the game and its regulations: the decision stands. That decision of the referee being altered by a body leads to serious issues which may be faced in the future. Taking a cue from a decision of this nature what if referees are taken to courts?
he precedence has been set and needs to be looked at form an overall point of the game. Even the decision of the match that was abandoned and restarted there is no questioning of the decision of the referee but the question was the final decision of the tournament committee of the schools section.
The overall game is what is important and the reasons for issues have to be addressed and sorted out than take action on gut feeling. Matches have to be played and won on the field in accordance with the laws as well as the playing charter. The subsequent technicalities as well as legal action too can bring a trophy home. It can deny a score as well as a record. What good does it do to the game of rugby as a whole and in our quest for a place in Asian rugby? Discipline is important for this game that has a huge physical effort as a contact sport. The fundamentals of fair play as well as well as respect starts outside the field and if not adequately managed will have it share of consequences that will follow. Yet the big question is where we are heading. What will the sponsors think about the game?
In the admirable world of our dreams I see a give and take with rugby at heart. Kandy accepts their mistake and says they are sorry and points are taken off while they withdraw the case. Navy in a gesture of goodwill decide that they will not contest points and agree to the cup being given to Kandy as we don’t want what we did not win n the field. They still maintain the fact that people cannot changeover at will and neither can you hold on without a legal hold. The union decides that the game must go on and Kandy forfeits the points and also gets a suspend sentence for good behaviour. The schools section sees reality and attends council meetings and falls in line with the IRB binding they have through the SLRFU who in all terms are their parent.
I told you it is dream world. Practically it may not happen as what is mine is not yours and we draw a boundary around ourselves to protect and to create conflict.
Vimal Perera is a former Rugby Referee, coach and Accredited Referees Evaluator IRB