Soccer game attack: Man is spared jail

AN assistant referee avoided prison when he was sentenced by magistrates for an assault on a player during an under-16s football match.

Alexander Taylor, 41, of Whiting Road, Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, had been warned at an earlier hearing that he could face a custodial sentence for the attack which led to a group melee on the pitch in Church Road, Gorleston.

However, after considering probation reports the Great Yarmouth bench gave Taylor a community order for 12 months and told him to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay �85 costs and was prohibited from attending any football match for 12 months.

Gary Mayle, prosecuting, told the court on Wednesday that the 15-year-old victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been substituted and was shouting to his team-mates from the sidelines.

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Ten minutes into the second half there was a particularly strong tackle and the youngster urged one of his team-mates to perform some retribution on a member of the opposing team.

Mr Mayle said Taylor was so incensed by the teenager’s comment that he left his spot on the line to challenge the youngster.

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Unleashing a volley of swear words, he grabbed the player by the scruff of the neck.

The confrontation quickly escalated into a melee involving other players and spectators and the referee was forced to abandon the match.

Mr Mayle said that Taylor was hit on the side of the face and suffered facial injuries, while the youngster fell to the ground after he was punched and kicked by unknown assailants.

Police were called to the ground and arrested a number of people.

Mitigating, Claire Edgler said that Taylor, who was suffering from depression at the time, has since been put off from watching any more football.

She said the only forcible contact Taylor had with the youngster was grabbing him.

A spokesman for Norfolk FA said they had no comment to make following the outcome of the case.

At the earlier hearing he had confirmed the case was under investigation by the Norfolk FA county welfare and governance departments.

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