Rome, February 16 - Vicenza Rangers' Italo-Argentine captain Bruno Andres Doglioli was banned for life Thursday after deliberately tackling woman referee Maria Beatrice Benvenuti from behind, knocking her over, in a Serie A match against Valsugana in the northern city of Padua on December 11. An Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) appeals court extended a previous three-year ban to a life one, upholding an appeal from prosecutors. The 34-year-old Doglioli engaged in "a deliberate act of violence against Benvenuti", the FIR said in a statement. Rugby Vicenza issued a statement saying it would not appeal the ban and hoped that the punishment would set an example. Rome native Benvenuti, 23, initially believed the collision was accidental. She got up, saw the match through, then reported to the emergency room with neck and back pain. Footage of the horrific blow, which Doglioli inflicted out of frustration, went viral. Doglioli's team suspended him without pay. Benvenuti became rugby's youngest international referee, and represented Italy at the Rio Olympics.
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