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Irate parents featured in 'undercover' Victor Vito spectator abuse video making formal complaint to Union

Parents filmed in a staged promotional video about sideline abuse are formally complaining to the Wellington Rugby Football Union.

The Wellington Rugby Football Union has confirmed it used actors to hurl abuse in a Burger King promotional video in which All Black Victor Vito goes undercover to expose the abuse referees receive.

Parents were asked to sign a waiver to allow the filming of the Avalon and Petone under-13 rugby game, but one parent told ONE News they weren't told the video would pretend it was a real expose and reveal the clubs involved.

"They've tricked people to participate - none of the parents would have agreed otherwise. We would've asked for our faces and our kids' faces to be blurred," one parent told ONE News.

"It's an absolute joke, and it's putting Petone rugby in a bad light and tarring us as abusive supporters, when it was the cleanest game ever in terms of abuse, everyone knew it was being filmed and there were actors.

"I just think it's pretty rotten from Burger King, and disingenuous from Victor Vito."

When asked about the abuse from the sidelines, Vito told media it was "eye-opener", and he "didn't expect swear words" with children around.

Nina Meteka criticised the use of actors, saying she was at the game and didn't recognise the people featured in the clip throwing abuse.

"Avalon supporters can get riled up but we are genuinely only interested in the welfare of our boys, I know A LOT of the parents scold their children about swearing on the field and talking to the ref," Ms Meteka wrote on Facebook.

"I know I drill my brothers about sticking to their game plan, listening to their coach and never talk back to the ref even if the call goes against what they see/feel."

A Wellington Rugby official has admitted the video had an "element of staging".

Speaking on TVNZ's Breakfast today Wellington Rugby's manager of amateur rugby Will Caccia-Birch said: "There was an element of staging to what took place at Petone and certainly no reflection of the Petone-Avalon clubs themselves".

Vito wasn't alone in officiating the match, getting help from Hurricanes team-mates Reggie Goodes, Jeff To'omaga Allen and Jason Woodward.

Wellington Rugby's Will Caccia-Birch says "sports wide" NZ has to address abuse at sports ground. Source: Breakfast


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