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Ref in hospital as tempers flare

PUBLISHED: 20:00 07 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:42 03 March 2010

TEMPERS boiled over at a Suffolk amateur football match, which had to be abandoned after police were called to break up an attack on the referee.

Officials at the Select Technical Services Sunday league match in Ipswich are believed to have come under attack from members of the Belstead Arms team.

TEMPERS boiled over at a Suffolk amateur football match, which had to be abandoned after police were called to break up an attack on the referee.

Officials at the Select Technical Services Sunday league match in Ipswich are believed to have come under attack from members of the Belstead Arms team.

The Belstead Arms had been playing St Clements at Whitton Utd's ground King George's Field off Old Norwich Road, yesterday morning when the trouble kicked off.

Shocked onlookers watched, as tension built until one Belstead Arms player is believed to have assaulted the referee so badly that he had to be taken to hospital.

But the drama did not stop there, as it is believed that other Belstead Arms players launched in to such an extent that the game had to be stopped immediately.

League secretary Keith Buckles said today he could not comment much before the matter was discussed at a committee meeting tomorrow night.

He confirmed the match at Whitton Utd's ground had to be abandoned.

He said: "I did witness the incident, although I was quite a way away from it.

"It was reasonably nasty. It was over in a flash, but abuse of the referee is one of the things we do not tolerate within the league. That's something we don't want to see.

"The referee had to be taken to hospital. An ambulance and police were called."

Mr Buckles added: "The tension had been building up. A player had been sent off previously, and it had been a hard physical game, but that's what we should expect in our premier league.

"We will be taking the appropriate action after our discussions tomorrow night. The county will also be taking their own action after the incident has been investigated."

A spokesman for the St Clements team today declined to comment.

Belstead Arms' spokesman was unavailable for comment as the Star went to press.

Also investigating are Suffolk Police, who were called to the scene.

A police spokesman said today: "I can confirm we had a complaint of an assault at King George's Field at about 11am yesterday. Officers attended and we are investigating."

He confirmed no charges had been made at this stage.

The fight is at least the second alleged fist fight, to have blighted local football already this year.

Brantham Athletic manager Peter Gorham was charged this month with common assault on Paul Tietgen – the boss of rival team Willis and Kesgrave Utd – on January 18. The offence is alleged to have happened as Willis equalised to snatch a draw.

That incident was also revealed in the Evening Star.

The 50-year-old from Manor Terrace, Felixstowe is due to appear again at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court in Ipswich on April 22.

nDo you think people get too worked up over football games? Should there be tougher penalties for referee abusers?

Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN or email: EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk.


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