League to act after player tried to ‘strike’ Sunday ref

The FA's Respect campaign poster
The FA's Respect campaign poster

An Aylesbury football league has confirmed it could ban a player for life after an attempted assault on a referee on Sunday.

Thame Town Wanderers’ game against SFG in the SLN Aylesbury Sunday Combination was marred after an attempted attack on match official Mark Strong.

The league condemned the incident, describing the episode as ‘sad’.

A statement from the league’s committee promised to come down hard on the player responsible.

“Wanderers had a player sent off for attempting to strike referee Mark Strong. The league is set to take the strongest actions possible to ensure the individual never darkens the SLN doorstep again.”

According to the FA’s Respect campaign, a long-term programme to improve behaviour at all levels of football, incidents of assaults on referees are down, but improper conduct is up.

An FA statement said: “Although there has been a decline in the most serious cases of assault by 15 per cent the number of incidences of improper conduct towards referees has risen by 25 per cent.

“Some of this will reflect the increased number of match officials and reports being submitted.

“The key message remains however that it is never acceptable to confront a referee in any way.”

“Statistics show 98% of referees have been verbally abused and 27% have been physically abused.”

The FA’s Respect campaign also aims to tackle the mass drop-out of referees from football due to abuse.

While Aylesbury is blessed with a decent array of referees for local amateur football, it bucks a national trend which shows 7,000 referees dropped out of the game last season.

According to the FA the drop outs has led to what is lowest number of match officials to date.

Enforcement of the Respect campaign and sanctions is handed to county FA, which for the SLN is the Berk and Bucks FA.

It is not yet known what action will be taken against the player but the maximum would be a lifetime ban.