Oldham forward Danny Bridge has been fined £75 and banned for nine months by an Independent Operational Rules Tribunal.
He pleaded guilty to a grade F charge of assault on the match official in the Betfred League 1 game against Keighley Cougars at Cougar Park on Friday, July 13.
Oldham RLFC has issued the following statement:
The club wishes to apologise publicly to referee Cameron Worsley for the incident in the recent match at Keighley which has resulted in the significant nine-month ban for Danny Bridge.
We never have, or would, condone physical contact with a match official and we fully appreciate the vitally important role that match officials play in our game.
As a club we accept the disciplinary process that has taken place and we will deal with the punishment accordingly.
Fortunately Mr Worsley did not sustain serious injury and both the club chairman, Christopher Hamilton, and Danny Bridge himself have apologised to him for the incident.
Coach Scott Naylor also tenders his apologies.
As we approach the business end of the season we will focus all our efforts on the remaining matches and we again apologise to all concerned.
Bridge has taken to social media to speak for the first time about what happened.
“I would like to apologise to Oldham, the club, the fans and especially my team mates and coaching staff.
“I’m embarrassed by and ashamed of what happened.
“I pleaded guilty to the charge because I made a massive mistake. It’s never acceptable to make contact with the referee and I was ready to accept whatever punishment I received.
“I have apologised to the referee and after the incident I went over to see if he was ok.
“I never deliberately assaulted him and, like I said to the tribunal, it was a mistake in personnel.
“It was a close game with six minutes to go and I thought it was an opposition player I pulled back. It was a split-second decision I will regret for ever.
“I have never been banned or sent off in my whole career and anyone who knows me, or has played with me, will say this is not in my nature.
“All I can do is say sorry to anyone who I have upset.”