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Ref attacker spared jail

PUBLISHED: 09:35 15 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:51 03 March 2010

AN assaulted referee today said he was not bitter after the player who attacked him was spared jail.

Christopher Dale, 46, was in charge of a Select Technical Services Premier Division match between Belstead Arms and St Clement's on Sunday, April 6.

AN assaulted referee today said he was not bitter after the player who

attacked him was spared jail.

Christopher Dale, 46, was in charge of a Select Technical Services Premier

Division match between Belstead Arms and St Clement's on Sunday, April 6.

The game, at the King George V Field, off Old Norwich Road, Ipswich, was

abandoned after he was kicked in the stomach by a Belstead Arms player he

had just sent off.

The Ipswich and District Referee Society today said that the player, 21-year-old Andrew Coote, had "got off lightly", sending out the wrong message to others condiering violence on the football pitch.

Yesterday Ipswich magistrates heard how Coote started to walk off the field before returning to where Mr Dale was standing and committed the assault.

Margaret Cutts, prosecuting, said: "Mr Coote was ordered off the pitch and

began to leave the field but saw his brother remonstrating with the referee.

Mr Coote walked back to the referee and kicked him in the stomach."

Mr Dale, of Elmcroft Road, Ipswich suffered severe internal bruising

following the attack.

Claire Hullock, mitigating, said: "Immediately after the incident Mr Coote

admitted it and voluntarily went to the police station and told them what

had happened. He wrote a letter to Mr Dale apologising to him and explaining

that he could not understand what had came over him."

David Coe, chair of the bench at South East Suffolk Magistrates court, told Coote: "You have an unfortunate temper which has got you into a lot of trouble. You cannot go round thumping referees. They do their best and you went one step too far."

Coote, a former Stoke High School pupil, was ordered to pay £800 in

compensation to Mr Dale, £55 in costs and serve 100 hours community service.

He will also have to attend an anger management course and had already been

given a lifelong ban from playing football.

After hearing of the punishment, Mr Dale said: "I'm not vindictive and I

have faith in the Criminal Justice system."

"The police have been good and the local football leagues were strong and

decisive. I hope the football community takes note and begin to take

pre-emptive measures against players with poor disciplinary histories.

"Managers and football associations should not select or register known

problem players and officials should be made aware of disciplinary records

so we can opt not to officiate."

Coote, from Radcliffe Drive, Ipswich, refused to comment.


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