POLICE are investigating after a young referee was punched in the face during an amateur football match in Luton on Saturday, forcing the game to be abandoned.
Luton-based Crawley Green FC Reserves Molten Spartan SML Reserve Division Two home match against New Bradwell St Peter Reserves was abandoned after 64 minutes when a New Bradwell player punched the referee, thought to be aged just 17, in the face after being sent off.
Crawley Green club secretary Edward Downey said: “The referee was booking the player for a foul and the player then started ranting and raving and swearing so the ref threatened to send him off.
“He kept going on so the referee produced a red card.
“The guy went to walk away but then turned back and punched him. I think the referee was more shocked than hurt, but he had a bit of a swollen face.
“The players all wanted to get the lad away because the player wanted to hit him again but there was a representative from the Beds FA there and someone assessing the referee so they got to the lad and helped take control.”
Despite Crawley Green having been 6-0 up at the time, Mr Downey said that the game may now have to be replayed.
A spokesman for the Beds FA said: “I can confirm that there was an alleged serious assault on the referee in the mentioned fixture by a player from New Bradwell St Peter Reserves. This is now being dealt with by the police and as such we are unable to comment further.”
A Beds Police spokesman confirmed yesterday that police were called to the scene shortly after 4pm and are currently investigating the incident.
> For this week’s sport, see pages 63-66