Club boss: I was treated like a criminal

SOCCER: The chairman of a Sunday Morning League club has been left "shaking with anger" after being called before a Suffolk Football Association hearing.

By Elvin King


THE chairman of a Sunday Morning League club has been left "shaking with anger" after being called before a Suffolk Football Association hearing.

Nigel Seaman, who was player manager of Jolly Sailors last season, said: "I have never been so humiliated. I was made to feel guilty when I had done nothing wrong.

"I want to warn other club officials who get called to appear before a Suffolk disciplinary body. It was disgusting the way they spoke and their attitude."

The lance corporal in the Royal Anglian regiment, who is this week on a training exercise in north Wales, was giving evidence at an official hearing to discuss allegations against a referee.

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Seaman said that the referee swore at him after his side's game against Orford Sports.

"I asked him for his name as I wanted to fill in the normal paperwork. It was not the behaviour I expected and I included this in my report of the match," he said.

"I used it in mitigation against charges made by the match official."

Seaman recalled the match in Division Seven of the Ipswich Sunday League: "We were upset when a goal resulted while one of our players was on the ground with a suspected broken rib and we had someone sent off when we disputed the decision.

"Then I received a broken nose from what I am convinced was an elbow and had to play on as the game was not stopped. Blood was pouring everywhere."

Seaman, who has been with Jolly Sailors for six years, wrote giving his club's side of the story when the referee's report came in.

"I received a letter back from Suffolk FA saying that all charges against Three Jolly Sailors had been dropped," he said.

"Then, a few months later, I received a letter from Suffolk FA official Bob Friend asking me to attend a hearing where charges against the referee were to be heard.

"I thought the whole thing had been long forgotten, but went along as requested. I had no idea what I was in for.

"I felt like a criminal and was virtually frog-marched into the room. I have never been so embarrassed in my life and was totally disgusted by the attitude of the four members of the panel. I came out of the room shaking with anger.

"It was a nightmare and I never want to attend another FA hearing. I was not the one under review.

"It is hard enough getting referees to cover games and after successfully replying to charges against our players and club as far as I was concerned the episode was over."

Suffolk FA public relations officer Barry Felgate said that serious allegations were made against a match official in a letter of mitigation from Jolly Sailors.

"The Suffolk FA referees' committee looked at it and decided to send it on to the disciplinary committee to substantiate the club's report," said Felgate.

"At the meeting all the allegations against the referee were withdrawn and as far as the FA was concerned the matter was closed."

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