A football referee is nursing horrific facial injuries after he was allegedly headbutted by a player during a county league game in St Leonards.
The male referee was officiating between St Leonards Social and local rivals Hollington United when he was said to have been assaulted.
It is believed the referee suffered a serious injury to his nose and was left with two black eyes.
His ordeal unfolded last Saturday afternoon around 40 minutes into the first half of the game. The match was being played at Tilekiln playing fields where Social play their home matches. Social were top of the Macron East Sussex League Premier Division and United were in second place. United were winning 1-2 and the game was around 40 minutes old when the headbutting incident was alleged to have happened.
Charles Amstad, founding chairman of St Leonards Social, was a linesman at the game. He said: “It was absolutely horrendous. Serious assaults like this have no place on the streets, let alone during a game of football. As a club and a club chairman we would never condone any actions like this on or off the field of play. We are extremely saddened as a club that this took place at one of our fixtures. As the home team we are responsible for the safety of the referee. He is extremely sore with two black eyes and a broken nose. It happened in front of 30-40 supporters and some are young families who bring their children. Two first aiders went to help and we recommended the referee went to the Conquest Hospital to be treated. We are very saddened for Hollington as they find themselves the victims of this action. We have a very good and competitive relationship with the club.”
Sussex County FA has launched an investigation. Spokesman Ashley Slaughter said: “We have received information that there was an alleged assault. We are currently investigating. Once we have more information we will deal with it according to the FA regulations.”
Michelle Tugwell, spokeswoman for Sussex Police, said: “A man has been arrested after an altercation during a football match in St Leonards on Saturday (November 8). At around 2.40pm during a game between Hollington United vs St Leonards Social at Ingleside in Hastings, there was an altercation between the referee and a player and the referee was headbutted causing an injury to his nose. A 25-year-old man came to the police and was arrested on suspicion of assault. He has been bailed until November 27 while investigations continue.” According to the FA Discipline Handbook, serious assault can result in a lifetime ban from the game.