April 19 2014 Latest news:
Monday, December 9, 2013
A Suffolk non-league player who has been banned from football for a minimum of three years has spoken for the first time about the incident which saw him relegated from the sport.
Glyn Dixon was refereeing a match between Woodbridge Town U11 boys and Witnesham Wasps U11s at Melton playing fields on October 12.
A fracas broke out between Mr Dixon and a spectator around 15 minutes into the game, which resulted in the South Suffolk Youth League match being abandoned.
The confrontation took place just yards away from the two junior football teams, most of whose players are 10-years-old, as well as two U12 teams who were playing nearby. Several of the young players said they were too distressed to continue.
Mr Dixon, of St Peter’s Close, Woodbridge, subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge brought by Suffolk FA of improper conduct, including violent conduct and threatening and/ or abusive language or behaviour.
The Star has obtained witness statements submitted to the Suffolk FA by both Witnesham and Woodbridge spectators who were there on the day.
Although there are some disparities, almost all of the statements say that Mr Dixon approached a Witnesham spectator after having been told he was “cheating the boys”.
After a verbal confrontation between the pair Mr Dixon pushed the spectator, resulting in an altercation.
Mr Dixon said he got what he deserved when the SFA banned him from football indefinitely.
He said he agreed to referee the game after all other avenues had been exhausted.
“The way I like to referee, and I have played the game to a pretty good standard, I like to let the boys get on with it,” he said. “Nine times out of 10 if you blow for a foul the boys will put the ball down and then blow it 30 or 40 yards up the pitch. I’m trying to encourage them to keep the ball moving and play the game.
“There were probably two or three occasions where I could have blown for a foul. Then on this occasion we had a boy who got past Woodbridge and was pulled back and I tried to play the advantage. For that I was called a cheat.
“The bloke shouted and called me a cheat so I stopped the game and I gave him an opportunity to answer the question as to why he had said what he said.
“He just said, ‘You’re a cheat and you’re cheating the boys.’”
Witness statements state only that the spectator told Mr Dixon, “You’re cheating the boys.”
However Mr Dixon is contrite about his subsequent behaviour.
“From that point on what I did was totally indefensible and I have never tried to make excuses because it shouldn’t have happened,” he said. “I should have been big enough not to react the way I did.
“I should’ve stopped the game; either abandoned it or given the whistle to someone else… I shouldn’t have done it, I regret it.
“The punishment the FA has handed out I’m more than happy to accept. At the end of the day I’m 34, I won’t be playing football again anyway. I’d have liked to have gone out on my own terms but I haven’t.”
He added: “As far as I was aware I was asked to referee a match and I’d let my fiancée and stepchildren down to do it and if they were prepared to make comments like that they should’ve been doing it.”
Witnesham Wasps pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to ensure their players and/ or officials and/ or spectators conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and were fined £100.
Mr Dixon said he felt football associations could do more to make it easier for referees to do their jobs without interruptions from the sidelines.
“Obviously these young referees have got to start somewhere,” he said. “They’re young, they’re very nervous, they don’t look like they want to be there and they’re not being helped by people on the sidelines interfering.”
The chief executive of Suffolk FA, Laura Smith, said: “Witnesham Wasps were charged in line with The FA disciplinary guidelines and received the maximum sanction possible.”
The chairman of Witnesham Wasps FC, James Leese, said: “Witnesham Wasps accepts that Suffolk FA are the sole body responsible for discipline and accept their decision in relation to the incident involving Mr Dixon and a grandparent spectator of Witnesham Wasps.
“The club and coaches are working with the children who were witness to the incident and now look to move on and enjoy the rest of their football season.”