It's another example of athletes getting too physical with referees.

Italy's Federezione Italiana Rugby has banned Bruno Andres Doglioli, of Argentina, for three years after he blindsided a female referee with a vicious hit during a match on Sunday when neither were anywhere near the play.

Maria Beatrice Benvenuti got up and finished officiating the contest, although she did go to the hospital with whiplash after it ended.

The league blasted Doglioli in a statement, saying, "The Italian Rugby Federation would like to reiterate that this sanction -- the heaviest in the last 20 years -- underlines that when it comes to infringing the rules of the game and, above all, the fundamental values of our sport, we will show zero tolerance."

Doglioli, who also received a yellow card for his actions, cannot play any sort of competitive rugby while serving the suspension.

This incident is the latest in a spate of such moments that have surfaced in the last year or two, with the most recent ones focusing on a California football player who punched a referee and a soccer player who shot and killed a referee who gave him a red card.