Sunday, 23 September 2018

Injured referee calls for life ban for thug

A FOOTBALL referee who was punched by a player after a Sunday League match says the attacker should not be

A FOOTBALL referee who was punched by a player after a Sunday League match says the attacker should not be allowed to play again.

Barrie Angell, 69, from Caversham, was left with two damaged teeth and a cut lip after the assault by 21-year-old Derrick Cowley.

Last week, the attacker was ordered to pay £1,000 to his victim after pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm at Oxford Magistrates’ Court.

He has been banned for life from the Reading Football League and was given a five-year suspension by the Berkshire and Buckinghamshire FA.

Mr Angell told the Standard: “In the cold light of day I’m still upset about it but I don’t have any animosity towards him. We’ve all got to get on with our lives.

“I’m more upset with the football authorities, who didn’t handle it very well at all.

“He has only been given a five-year ban by the counties FA so technically he can play again in the Bracknell area or in Oxfordshire when he should have been banned for life.”

The attack happened following the match between SC United and New England at Bishopswood sports ground in Gallowstree Common on November 18.

The court heard how Cowley, the goalkeeper for New England, had disputed a decision by Mr Angell after he felt he had been fouled in the build-up to a goal he conceded.

He later went off injured and the Reading and Sunday District League Division 4 East game finished 6-3 to SC United.

At the end of the match, the referee was speaking to a linesman in the centre circle when Cowley approached him.

Andy Callander, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Angell held out his hand as he thought the player was going to offer a handshake but Cowley punched him once in the mouth.

A witness said Mr Angell’s mouth began to “pour with blood” and the referee said he was “really shocked”.

Cowley, of Basingstoke Road, Reading, walked off the pitch despite his team-mates telling him to apologise. Police were called and arrived shortly afterwards.

In a statement read out in court, Mr Angell said: “I’ve been refereeing for 40 years and never been assaulted.

“It deeply upset me and had a long-lasting effect on me. Quite a few matches since it’s made me very apprehensive when a player comes up to me and it’s horrible to think that someone could have such a lasting effect on you.”

Mr Angell said he had to take a week off work and be driven around by his son because of the injury. He needed hundreds of pounds of dental work. He said: “The first month impacted on me financially and emotionally. I have very little feeling in the upper lip.

“There’s no point in me feeling angry or vindictive. I almost feel sorry for him because he has to live with this incident for the rest of his life. However, he has to accept responsibility for his actions.”

Gavin Sellar, for Cowley, said the player had shown “sincere remorse”.

“This is a case of a young man who lost his temper on the football field and now accepts full responsibility,” said Mr Sellar. “He recognises fully that doesn’t justify what occurred later on. He did regret his actions and said that Mr Angell didn’t deserve to be hit and suffer the inajuries he did.”

Mr Sellar said the assault had not been premeditated and had been committed in the “heat of the moment”.

Cowley was also given a 12-week prison term suspended for a year and must complete 150 hours of community service and pay an £80 victim surcharge.

Chief magistrate Jane Carlton Smith called the attack “vicious” and said it had been premeditated because Cowley had felt a degree of resentment towards Mr Angell.

Cowley, a former semi- professional footballer, now coaches disabled children. He lost his job with DHL as a result of the case but is about to start work as a kitchen porter at a Reading pub.

Brian Moore, chief executive of the Berkshire and Buckinghamshire FA, said Cowley had been given the maximum punishment allowed.

After the incident, former Premier League referee Graham Poll said he was “appalled” by it.

He said: “Of course, this is an extreme example but not a unique one.

“It highlights why a select group of referees must take their responsibility seriously and understand the impact of their failure to apply law and allow open dissent to go unpunished — and I am sure Barrie Angell agrees.”

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