A Bedford football club has been ‘suspended with immediate effect’ after one of their players assaulted a referee after full-time in a Bedford and District Football League game on Sunday.
Bedford Albion FC have been suspended from the Bedford and District Football League pending a full enquiry after the referee in their Division Two encounter against Blunham on Sunday morning was attacked after the full-time whistle.
The Bedford Independent has seen a video of the aftermath of the game, where an Albion player had to be dragged away after allegedly punching the referee twice. The incident itself was not caught on camera.
James Smith, manager of Bedford Albion, condemned the action of the player concerned.
“In a highly charged game between the two sides at the top of the table, a single player took it upon himself to physically attack the match official having been sent off after the full-time whistle.
“The club wholeheartedly does not condone this and the player has already been dealt with internally. The club will be making a full statement later this evening (Monday)”
The Bedford and District Football League posted a brief statement on ‘X’, formerly known as Twitter, on Sunday evening.
“The league is aware of an incident after a game today. A referee was assaulted.
“We operate a zero tolerance [policy] with referee abuse.
“The club is suspended with immediate effect while this is investigated and [charity], Ref Support UK is supporting.”
“Nearly a third” of referees face physical abuse
A wide-ranging investigation conducted by BBC Sport earlier in the year found that out of more than 900 referees, 293 had experienced some sort of physical abuse when officiating a football match, with almost all reporting verbal abuse.
The Football Association announced in October that a trial of referees wearing body cameras in adult grassroots football could start “as early as next year”.
Bedfordshire FA were approached for comment but told Bedford Independent they could not while an investigation was ongoing and the matter lies with Bedfordshire Police.