Footballer banned for referee assault

A TOP non-league footballer's career could be over after he was banned from the game for a minimum of five years for assaulting a referee.

(exclusive)

A TOP non-league footballer's career could be over after he was banned from the game for a minimum of five years for assaulting a referee.

Cornard United star Nicky Guyon may never be able to play again after bosses at the Suffolk Football Association (SFA) handed out tough punishment to the 39-year-old, who has turned out for a host of the region's leading amateur football teams.

The SFA's disciplinary panel found Mr Guyon, a father-of-five from Sudbury, guilty of assault and attempting to cause bodily harm to referee Maurice Cook during a Ridgeon's League first division fixture in January.


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He was given a sine die suspension (a life time ban) with no review to be considered for a period of five years. He was also fined £250.

Mr Guyon said last night he was disappointed over the "harsh" punishment he has been given, adding he will lodge an immediate appeal and seek legal advice over the situation.

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Police were called to Cornard United's Blackhouse Lane Ground on January 8, after Mr Cook alleged he was punched by the player in the 65th minute of a match against Essex side Stanway Rovers.

The match was abandoned and Mr Guyon later received a police caution for common assault.

The player admits he shoved the referee after being shown a red card, but vehemently denies punching the official.

Yesterday, Mr Guyon said: "I am totally disappointed because I feel I have been given a harsher punishment than the law of the land actually allows.

"The police gave me a caution for common assault, but the panel found me guilty of something far more serious, which I find very interesting.

"I went into the hearing, apologised and admitted common assault. I did shove the referee, but I certainly didn't punch him. I think this ban is far too harsh for a single shove.

"I will launch an immediate appeal and I am seeking legal advice over the things that have been said about me, which as far as I am concerned are totally unfair and untrue."

During a distinguished playing career Mr Guyon has starred for Ipswich Wanderers, Bury Town, Braintree Town, Wivenhoe Town, Felixstowe and Harwich.

He has also been a coach at Cornard Dynamoes, one of East Anglia's largest youth football set-ups, and Sudbury Girls.

During more than 30 years of playing football, Mr Guyon says he has never before been accused of raising a hand to an official.

A SFA spokesman yesterday confirmed Mr Guyon had been found guilty of assault and attempting to cause bodily harm and that he had been given a sine die suspension that would not be reviewed for a period of five years.

Last night, Mr Cook, 43, from Braintree, welcomed the FA's ruling, saying: "I think this has definitely been the right decision.

"The player assaulted me and there is no place for that in football. I fell to the floor as a result of the assault.

"I hope the punishment handed out in this case sends a clear message that assaults on referees will not be tolerated. We give up our free time to be officials and we don't expect to get assaulted for it.

"This type of behaviour has got to be stamped out, it is not acceptable."

Cornard United manager Chris Symes was not prepared to comment on the matter yesterday.

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