‘It is a matter of time before a British referee is killed if no action is taken’

Calls for tougher sanctions against those who abuse or attack match officials as the number of incidents continues to rise“At half-time as I was standing in the centre circle, the player I had [sent off] during the first half approached me, started shouting in my face: ‘Why don’t you start fucking getting decisions right and you’re fucking useless.’ I replied: ‘Move away from me.’ He then pushed me three times in the chest and said: ‘What are you going to fucking do about it?’ I asked him to leave the pitch now. He then started throwing punches at me which he connected with me twice hitting me on the back of the head. I have evidence of contact.”The above testimony formed part of a Football Association disciplinary hearing in August. It came from a referee in the Cumberland County League who had taken charge of a fixture between Whitehaven Miners Social First and Cleator Moor Celtic reserves and was assaulted. The hearing ended with Cleator Moor’s Adam Meagan being banned from all football activities for seven and a half years. It was a draconian sentence, but one that many within the grassroots game would consider not tough enough.

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