'Talented' coach Pene banned for abusing official

Wellington Softball has handed Newlands premier women's assistant coach Phil Pene a three-week suspension after he verbally abused an umpire during a match at Porirua Park.

Pene was initially suspended for six weeks, but had his punishment halved after writing a letter of apology the next day and due to the fact it was a first offence.

He is also the Wellington women's under-17 representative coach and has been told he must meet some behavioural standards in the lead-up to the national championships early next year.

It is understood Pene reacted angrily to an umpire's call and was ejected from the game.

Wellington Softball Association president Lorena Stephen said the incident had been taken seriously.

She said the sport had a "zero tolerance" policy around abuse of officials.

However, Pene was a "talented coach" who had given a "huge amount of time" to the sport and done a good job with the representative team last year.

"There is no room for that sort of behaviour," Stephen said of the incident.

"It's unacceptable for our representative levels where it is about mentoring and guiding, and we recognise that and have set out some stipulation.

"We have a zero tolerance policy.

"We rely on the umpires officiating the game to determine the severity of the complaint.

"We don't tolerate that sort of behaviour in the sport and if we want to grow the sport we need the appropriate image.

"Yes, he did something wrong, but it's not a repeat. Everyone has a bad day."

Pene could not be contacted last night.

The Dominion Post