Linesman assaulted player, court hears

A man who was officiating as an assistant referee in a Norfolk under-16s football match was warned yesterday that he could face prison after admitting an assault on one of the players.

A man who was officiating as an assistant referee in a Norfolk under-16s football match was warned yesterday that he could face prison after admitting an assault on one of the players.

Great Yarmouth magistrates heard how Alexander Taylor, 41, of Whiting Road, Oulton Broad, became enraged when he heard a striker who had been substituted urge a teammate to attack a member of the opposing team in retribution for a strong tackle.

Leaving the line of the pitch in Church Road, Gorleston, he stormed up to the 15-year-old unleashing a volley of swear words and grabbing hold of him.

Gary Mayle, prosecuting, said these actions provoked an unseemly melee involving other players and specta-tors, and the referee was forced to abandon the match only a few minutes into the second half.


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The 15-year-old victim ended up on the ground after he was punched and kicked by other assailants while Taylor was himself assaulted, result-ing in a facial injury and damage to his glasses.

“The police were called and a number of people were arrested,” said Mr Mayle.

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Chris Bowles, mitigating, said: “My client remonstrated with the young lad in an inappropriate way and grabbed hold of him, but he says that is the only forcible contact he applied.”

He pointed out that the victim had been hazy about what happened, telling police that after his encounter with Taylor, a second assailant had punched him and a third person got involved before he ended up on the ground losing consciousness for a moment. However, Mr Bowles said Taylor conceded that it was his behaviour that had been the catalyst that caused everyone else to get totally out of control.

“His attempt to berate someone led to the group melee,” he said.

Adjourning the case for sentence until April 14, magistrates granted Taylor bail on condition that he does not attend any FA-registered football match. A full probation report was requested and he was warned that all options, including a custodial sentence, would be considered.

Following the hearing, a spokesman for the Norfolk FA said the case in question was currently under investigation by the Norfolk FA county welfare and governance departments.

He said the individual was not currently participating in football and had not done so since the incident.

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