February 4, 2023

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Don’t disrespect female refs team told

Naweni team playing at the Savusavu 7s.

Organisers of the 14th Fiji Bitter Savusavu 7s say they will not tolerate any gender discrimination in the competition.

This comes after the Naweni 7s team was forced to withdraw from the tournament after they were unhappy that a female referee had officiated their pool game against Sydney Nailaga this morning.

Players and management went after the match officials following their 7-5 loss to air their grievances, demanding an explanation as to why a female referee was allowed to officiate in the main men’s competition.

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Tournament Director, Malakai Yamaivava says the side demanded a re-match with a male referee to officiate but were told their initial match result was final and there would be no rematch.

The team was then told they had to continue playing the rest of their matches but they opted to withdraw from the competition.

Yamaivava says they will not tolerate any discrimination against women referees, women in-goal touch judges or women assistant referees in the competition and this should be a warning to other teams as well.

Organisers will now look to incorporate this into the competition bylaws come next year.

Naweni now faces a possible ban from future Savusavu 7s tournaments.

Yamaivava told FBC Sports, a pre-tournament meeting with team managers had agreed that no female referees would officiate the main men’s competition.

However, since the tournament started yesterday, the only two female referees in the competition were also officiating.

No officials from the Naweni 7s team was available for a comment.

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