'Spectator from hell' could be banned from games

Senior Constable Keith Rose
Senior Constable Keith Rose
A police officer described by a judge as a "spectator from hell" after grabbing the throat of a football referee could be banned from watching his son play.

Canterbury football's governing body Mainland Football has recommended to its board that Christchurch Senior Constable Keith Rose is banned for up to two years after he admitted abusing a ref and assaulting a referee assistant while off-duty.

Assistant ref Hayden McCabe was so traumatised by the June 29 incident that he has not officiated a game since.

Rose, a 59-year-old with 42 years' service, was discharged without conviction and ordered to pay $1500 in emotional harm compensation. He was placed on restricted duties as he awaited the outcome of an internal police enquiry and a code of conduct hearing.

Rose had been sitting in the main grandstand at ASB Park in Christchurch to watch his son play for Western against Cashmere Technical in a premier league match.

He made "a number of adverse comments regarding the performance of the referees during the game", in which his son's team lost 4-1.

After the heated match, he "collided" with Mr McCabe and grabbed his throat.

Mainland Football fined Western $2000 over the affair and suspended its coach Julian Morris for two games for his team's abuse of the referee.

Mainland Football's judiciary committee determined that those penalties were sufficient.

But chief executive Mike Coggan says the matter has been referred to its board to act against Mr Rose.

The board will consider a recommendation at next month's meeting that Mr Rose be banned from attending any further fixtures at ASB Park for up to two years.

The fact that Mr McCabe hadn't officiated after the attack was a major concern for the governing body.

"We don't have enough good quality, young referees anyway, so we have to make sure we take quite strong stands and take a zero tolerance policy," said Mr Coggan.

Last football season was plagued with a number of serious incidents, which included one club, Waimak United being fined a record $4000 after officials deceived a disciplinary panel looking into the case of a player pushing a ref.

Mainland Football is now planning a sideline behaviour campaign, closely aligned with New Zealand Football's Respect programme, to stamp out bad behaviour.

The governing body has identified the 11 - 13 age groups, with over-bearing parents and inexperienced coaches, as needing the closest assistance.

Sideline ambassadors, a poster campaign, promotional work, and more coaching of coaches are all part of Mainland's Footballs plans to clean up the game.

"We're going to focus on that 11, 12, 13, age group where we've got mass numbers of mums and dads watching their kids play, and where the result often becomes more important than the development of their kid," Mr Coggan said.

"Most kids don't want to hear dad yelling at them. And it comes back to the role of the coach; the way he acts, the way he talks to mums and dads and the kids. We need to change the way coaches go about things."

While the younger age groups will be focus of education, Mainland Football says it will come down hard on older players who step out of line.

"The message is: if you come before the judiciary committee this year, expect a hefty suspension or fine for the club."