An amateur Auckland football team temporarily banned from the league for abusing a referee is in hot water again.
Ranui Swanson FC has been fined and deducted competition points by the Northern Football Federation over behaviour in an August 14 match in which three players were sent off.
In a senior men's match against Te Atatu AFC, one player was red-carded having already received two yellow cards for dangerous tackles.
As the player walked off, he turned around to approach the referee and allegedly shouted "f*** off" loud enough for spectators to hear. That earned him a second red card.
The banished player then reportedly went back on the field during the half-time break and abused the referee again. It is not clear what was said.
Ranui Swanson management said the player had been expelled from the club.
The goalie also received two yellow cards in the same match, leading to a sending-off.
The August 14 incident came just two months after Ranui Swanson was banned from the league for two games for referee abuse after a June 23 match.
On that occasion, a Ranui official allegedly called the referee a cheat.
The club was controversially let back into the league two weeks later after NFF said the club had "put in place processes" to prevent further misbehaviour.
Some fans and referees are now questioning why the team was allowed back.
"I had them twice early on in the season and they try to intimidate the ref to put him off his game and get calls to go their way, question everything," referee Ed Ellington said.
"Then some refs will favour them to stop the conflict."
A match report from referee Tony Wall of Ranui Swanson's opening match of the season in April said the manager of Ranui Swanson referenced the Christchurch attacks "in regard to racial behaviour".
Wall wrote he believed this was "uncalled for and had no similarities to the game of football that I was at" while repeatedly citing the manager approached him to complain of racism.
"It was also noted that there were approximately 3-4 supporters from the Ranui team that were consuming alcohol on the sideline and when this was pointed out to the Ranui manager they said it's up to the home team to sort that out and was not their issue," Wall wrote.
Another former AFF/NFF Conference referee, who quit the sport due to "ongoing abuse", watched the August 14 match and said Ranui Swanson should be permanently kicked out of the league.
"They shouldn't have been allowed back in the beginning. You don't let them back two weeks later. What sort of standard does that set?" he said.
The former referee also said his experience of officiating Ranui Swanson RC was "every time you called a foul you were getting questioned".
Ranui Swanson's head coach, James Felipe, told the Herald on Sunday individuals were to blame - but added the club was in a "transition" period and trying to rebuild its reputation.
"We are attempting to weed out officials and players with behavioural issues whilst being fully open to all cultures and personalities," Felipe said.
"At this stage, the player who was involved in this (August 14) incident has been removed from the club as we saw the behaviour as unacceptable."
However, Felipe added that since the first suspension he believed his team was being targeted and abused by other clubs.
NFF chief executive John Limna told the Herald on Sunday league management would be meeting with the Ranui Swanson committee to " identify additional preventative measures" to prevent misconduct in the 2020 season.