SIL player immediately banned after incident with referee

YET another local referee has been the subject of a physical assault.

Andy Gray a level six official was shaken by the ordeal that happened when he took charge of the Hoxne reserve team game at Stonham Aspal in the Fourth Division of the Kingsley Healthcare SIL last Thursday.

Phil Knight, chief executive of Suffolk Football Association, confirmed: “There was an incident with Hoxne Reserves last Thursday where a referee was pushed by a player. The player has been put on immediate suspension pending full disciplinary proceedings.”

Gray, who had recovered enough to take charge of his first SIL Senior Division game at the weekend, added: “I was involved in an unfortunate incident and one I hope I never face again.

“I was verbally and physically assaulted by a member of one of the teams.

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“I was left shaken and would like to offer my thanks to the other team as they were very supportive.”

It was the support of Suffolk FA, Ipswich Referees’ Association and the SIL that helped Andy make the decision to take control of Saturday’s game between Framlingham Town and Westerfield that ended 1-1.

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Reflecting on his decision to continue, Andy said: “I contacted a fellow senior referee for some guidance and made contact with the Suffolk County FA’s referee secretary and was given a tremendous amount of support.

“The remainder of the evening was spent speaking to various other members of Suffolk FA including chief executive Phil Knight and members of the SIL management team, who contacted me to offer their support over this dreadful ordeal.

“Last Friday I received further phone calls from the Suffolk FA’s referee development officer Steve Tanner and members of the Ipswich Referees’ Association.

“The following day I refereed my first Senior Division game in the SIL following recent promotion after being faced with the decision of whether to continue with the appointment.

“I decided that this was an appointment that I had worked so hard for.

“Taking charge of the match, together with the overwhelming support received from colleagues has given me the confidence to continue with my refereeing career.

“I could not have asked any more of the Suffolk FA, they acted with great speed to deal with the situation.

“They were a pillar of strength and without the unprecedented support of Suffolk FA, Ipswich RA and SIL I’m unsure if I would have refereed at the weekend.”

Andy also took charge of a Flare Recruitment League game on Sunday. Earlier this year Brennan Butcher was the subject of an incident that resulted in Sunday side Brewers Arms being given an immediate suspension order by the FA,

They have since withdrawn from the Flare Recruitment League with Brennan having still to make up his mind whether to hang up his whistle but having registered provisionally for next season.

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