Footballer escapes lifetime ban

AN amateur footballer who hit a referee has escaped a lifetime ban from the game after a disciplinary hearing.Roy Bevis, 24, who also wrestles professionally as The Zebra Kid, struck referee Andrew Chapman after being sent off playing for Thetford Town against Stowmarket Town in the Ridgeons League Division One in August.

By John Howard

AN amateur footballer who hit a referee has escaped a lifetime ban from the game after a disciplinary hearing.

Roy Bevis, 24, who also wrestles professionally as The Zebra Kid, struck referee Andrew Chapman after being sent off playing for Thetford Town against Stowmarket Town in the Ridgeons League Division One in August.

The player, who has a history of violence, lost his temper after realising he had “blown it” in his debut league game for the club.


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Bevis, of St Peter's Street, Lowestoft, had been fined £100 and ordered to pay £100 compensation when he appeared in court last month over the incident and pleaded guilty to assault by beating.

Magistrates were told that Bevis delivered an “open palm strike” to the referee after being shown the red card. He has been told he will never play for Thetford Town again.

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Now, the Football Association's disciplinary commission has suspended Bevis for 217 days and fined him a further £175.

Richard King, administration officer with the FA, said the commission followed guidelines that recommended a 182-day suspension and a £150 fine for common assault.

In Bevis's case, there was also violent conduct against another player to be taken account of which added a further 35 days to the total, and an additional £25 fine.

Following the hearing, Arthur Smith, general secretary for the Referees Association, said: “My view is that a player who assaults a referee should never put on a pair of football boots on again.

“There is a shortage of referees nationally, this will put other referees off from joining the game.

“Referees are doing it voluntarily, the payments at local parks are nothing you can earn a living from - they are going out there because they enjoy the game.

“We have to get the message out that referees should be respected for the job they do and not physically or verbally abused.”

John Bultitude, president of Stowmarket Town, said he felt unable to comment on the punishment for an incident that he did not witness.

But he added: “We can do without incidents like this, football is under enough pressure. The referee did a good job, it's just sad to see anything like this.”

Bevis has appeared before the courts twice in just over a month.

On August 25, he narrowly avoided jail after brandishing a knife in a Lowestoft pub and punching a police officer, and was made the subject of a number of orders aimed at tackling his aggressive behaviour and alcohol problems.

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