July 10, 2020 / 5:00 AM / a month ago

Rugby league-Manly prop's A$20k abuse fine to fund wheelchair purchase

SYDNEY, July 10 (Reuters) - Manly Sea Eagles prop Addin Fonua-Blake was fined A$20,000 ($13,884) on Friday for using a derogatory term for disabled people to abuse the referee during a National Rugby League (NRL) match last weekend.

The fine was levied by the NRL in addition to the two-match ban the Tonga international had already received for being sent off for dissent in the dying seconds of a l4-12 loss to the Newcastle Knights.

The money will be donated to Wheelchair Rugby League Australia to fund the purchase of new wheelchairs and Fonua-Blake will act as referee in the league as a form of community service, the NRL said in a statement.

“I see this as an opportunity to provide positive change for Addin and his experiences will also rub off on the broader playing group,” said the NRL’s acting chief executive Andrew Abdo.

“Ignorance is not an excuse for naivety. There is no tolerance for comments like we witnessed on Sunday. Inclusivity is the foundation of our game.”

Fonua-Blake, who was incensed when Manly were not awarded a penalty as they chased what would have been a winning score, issued an apology through the club on Sunday and another via a team video on Friday.

$1 = 1.4405 Australian dollars Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford

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