A country footballer has been whacked with a 15-year suspension.
The Rushworth reserves player, Martin Forde, copped the suspension for pushing an umpire during a match against Ardmona last month, according to a Shepparton News report.
The match was called off after Forde reportedly pushed the umpire in the face with both hands, knocking him over.
The umpire, who was receiving verbal abuse, was about to hand him a red card when he was knocked over.
Forde pleaded guilty to unbecoming conduct at the tribunal, who handed down the verdict on Wednesday night.
He has been de-registered by AFL Victoria, and can apply for re-registration 12 months after his suspension, which will allow him to resume playing in 2034.
Goulburn Valley Football Umpires Association president Darren Meek said the message had been sent.
"I think it sends a clear message to players and officials that touching or striking, or any offence against an umpire, and you're going to serve a very severe penalty," he said.
"The independent tribunal behaved in a very professional manner and handled a very difficult situation very well.
"They've sent a message out to the football community that behaviour like this will not be tolerated."