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All Whites great Danny Hay has apologised for verbally abusing a referee in an Auckland schools football match.
Hay, the former All Whites skipper and Sunday News columnist, has made a name for himself as one of New Zealand's leading schoolboy coaches having led Auckland's Sacred Heart College to the national senior title in 2011 and the Auckland championship in 2012 - both inaugural titles for the school.
Today he will be informed he has been banned for four weeks by College Sport Auckland. The ban comes as a result of Hay calling the referee of his side's game against St Peter's last weekend a 'f****** cheat.'
"I'm not proud of it," Hay said in his statement.
"We have high standards that we set both at Sacred Heart and within the school's football academy and I have, temporarily at least, let those standards slip.
"There is no excuse for what I did. I could talk about being passionate and caring about the boys that I coach but the reality is there is no excuse that is good enough.
"That is why I will not be appealing the ban as I have no interest in dragging the school's name through the mud.
"I will take my punishment and get on with coaching the team during the week before handing the boys over to my assistant coach on match days.
"I intend to reach out to my players and parents in the next few days and answer any questions they may have."
"People will have their say and no doubt I will be judged by many in the public arena.
"I'll cop that too. I've never been one to look back. The only thing I am concerned with now is getting on with our season and ensuring that, in time, the only conversation people will have about Sacred Heart's football program will focus on what happens on the pitch."
- © Fairfax NZ News