SOMERSET Rugby Football Union Disciplinary Committee has escalated the punishment for referee abuse in local matches.

THE RFU has grown extremely concerned regarding the number of cases of Match Official Abuse already reported to the Panel this season.

A spokesman from the Somerset RFU said: "Abuse of Match Officials (including non-appointed volunteer touch judges) on and off the field is totally unacceptable and shall not be tolerated.

"It is becoming increasingly difficult for the Referees Society to not only recruit new members but also to retain current members, and abuse of officials (from players and spectators) is given as one of the causes of this."

With this in mind the RFU has confirmed that for all Proven cases involving Match Official Abuse after September 1, 2023, the Somerset Disciplinary Panel will consider a minimum automatic aggravation of two weeks (one match for Age Grade under 18 & below) over and above the RFU Sanctions"