Western hit with hefty fine for women's walk-off

TONY SMITH
Last updated 05:00 20/05/2014

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Mainland Football have fined the Western women's football team $2000 for walking off the pitch during a fiery premier league clash earlier this month.

The team marched off the field after the referee sent Nikita Swarts off for allegedly punching Cashmere Technical rival Monique Barker during a scuffle in a match at English Park on May 10.

Swarts has since claimed she acted in self-defence, but Barker has laid a complaint with the police.

Her complaint alleged "an assault by a player from the Western team which escalated into a larger altercation involving other players," a police spokesman told The Press last week.

Mainland Football chief executive Mike Coggan said yesterday the Western walkout had been deemed to be a default.

Cashmere Technical, who were leading 2-0 when Western walked off after 65 minutes, have been awarded three points and the standard 3-0 default scoreline.

"Under our rules, when a team walks off the field before a game is concluded, that also constitutes a default," Coggan said.

Mainland had imposed the maximum fine of $2000 for a premier league default to reflect the seriousness of the incident which, "because of the publicity, had a negative impact on the game's image".

He said the walk-off situation was compounded by the fact Western did not have a coach present to advise the team.

"Walking off the field wasn't the best thing they could have done in that situation."

Senior Western official Graham Allan took charge of the team for last Saturday's game against Parklands United.

Coggan said Mainland's competitions department wrote to Western on Friday, advising them of the fine.

The club had not as yet responded to that letter.

A $200 fine and a two-game suspension was meted out for Swarts' red card offence last week.

But Coggan said the Mainland judicial committee, chaired by lawyer and current Mainland men's premier league player Chris Anderson, would not hold a misconduct hearing until the police investigation had been completed.

Western were fined $2000 last year after a club supporter grabbed an assistant referee around the throat after a Mainland premier league match against Cashmere Technical at English Park.

The spectator, off-duty police officer Keith Rose, who was watching his son play for Western, was later discharged without conviction in the Christchurch District Court.

He was also ordered to pay $1500 emotional harm reparations to the match official.

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