A referee suffered a suspected broken jaw and other facial injuries following an assault in the Midlands Soccer League on Sunday.
Gardai in Co Offaly are reportedly investigating the incident which occurred after the game in the Combined Counties Football League played in Horseleap near the Westmeath-Offaly border.
One of our Referees in Midland Branch today after a game was viciously attacked by players this should not be tollarted at all we as Referees doing a job no REF no game pic.twitter.com/YgPpAhSNpD
— Joe Cassidy Athlone (@JoeCassidyIRE) November 11, 2018
The referee, Daniel Sweeney, suffered a suspected broken jaw as well as injuries to his eye and nose in the incident which allegedly occurred in the car park and involved up to three players and a spectator.
Tullamore Gardai were called to the scene after the game between Horseleap and Mullingar town and are currently investigating the assault.
This is absolutely shocking!! Attacks on referees should end up in court, not with the disciplinary committee from a sporting organisation… https://t.co/kTgjyinXMI
— Des Cahill (@sportsdes) November 11, 2018
No words are adequate to describe this shocking and disgraceful treatment of a referee. https://t.co/pBCujvhAnY
— ISRS (@RefereeIreland) November 11, 2018
The incident has been widely condemned by many in the footballing world and comes in the wake of recent reports of violence escalating in the sport across the country, most notably the Dublin District Schoolboy League.
Over the past six weeks, seven games in the league have had to be abandoned due to fights breaking out among young and old at DDSL games.
“We will not accept thuggery and physical assaults in our everyday life, why should we expect it in our chosen sport,” said a league executive in the Herald last week
“On more and more occasions adults now become involved in these incidents, ending with them verbally or physically striking out at young players. This is an extremely worrying trend that is developing in sport.”
Add these incidents to the number of violent brawls taking place at GAA games recently and it has certainly been a difficult time for Irish sport at grassroots level.
There’s no doubt that something must be done to stamp out incidents like this becoming more regular.