A footballer who attacked a refereee says his sine die ban (for a minimum of 10 years) is unfair. I agree with it do you think it is fair?
From Coventry Telegraph.
Nuneaton Sunday League player was fined £400 by magistrates and then banned by the FA
A thug who decked a referee during sickening football violence has dubbed the life-ban slapped on him by FA chiefs as unjust.
And Michael Dean Leeson, who attacked official Craig Ward on the park pitch, then shouted at him in the car park, told the Mercury: “There are two sides to every story.”
The 29-year-old punched the official four times, an FA report states, after being shown a red card during Bedworth Newdigate Arms’ clash with Sporting Newman Reserves at Nicholas Chamberlaine School, Bedworth.
The Nuneaton Sunday League division four local derby was abandoned, with Newdigate trailing 4-3, in the 87th minute. Lorry driver Mr Ward later needed hospital treatment for concussion.
Midfielder Leeson has already been dealt with by a court for the November aggro.
Before Leamington Spa magistrates, he admitted assault by beating, was fined £400, ordered to pay his victim £100 compensation, £85 court cost and a £40 surcharge. He maintained in court that he landed only one blow.
But at a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday, the FA threw the book at the cleaning company boss. It will be ten long years before Leeson can even appeal against a sine die ban from kicking a ball competitively.
Leeson had paid to attend and plead for leniency, but didn’t turn up.
“I didn’t get a letter or nothing,” the Sunday footballer protested when we informed him of the ruling.
“It’s a joke. That’s my playing days over.
“I’m banned. What am I going to do now? Watch... obviously.
“I’ve been playing since I was five. There have been yellow cards and red cards, but nothing like this.”
Leeson added: “The team (Newdigate) signed a petition saying what I’d done was wrong.
“I don’t need everyone to stick up for me, but I expected them to stick up for me a little bit. It was, like, let’s get the club out of the s**t and not worry about Michael.
“I made a mistake, but respect works both ways. If he’d spoken to me like that on the street there would’ve been an argument, then it would be done and dusted.
“I’ll admit what I did was wrong. I don’t want to get involved in a slanging match – what I did was wrong.
“If I could turn back the clock I would, one million per cent, but I can’t. Things happen in life.”
In his report, the injured ref said the attack left him feeling shocked, dizzy and disorientated. Leeson repeatedly told the official “it’s all your fault”, the document states.
After the violence, 39-year-old Mr Ward said: “He started to walk off, but suddenly turned round and hit me, with a clenched fist, four times in the face.
"I managed to stay on my feet but was knocked dizzy. Another qualified referee, who was watching from the touchline, came to my aid as I signalled that the match was being abandoned.”
He added: “The level of dissent shown by players in Sunday morning football is getting completely out of hand.
“It is rife and there is no pleasure in refereeing when you are having to put up with a constant stream of abuse.”
Newdigate manager Matt Lennon was quick to condemn the player’s actions.
He said: “It should not have happened. You can’t take the law into your own hands on the football pitch or in life. The shame is that Michael’s not a bad footballer.
“The match was always going to be niggly because it’s a local derby, but all the lads know each other. It’s not like they hate each other.”
Mr Lennon stressed fellow players did not sign a petition, but a new, beefed-up code of conduct spawned by the incident. Now any team member cautioned for dissent will be fined £10 by the club. A second caution will cost them £20, a third £30. Players who notch-up four cautions will be kicked out.
Birmingham County FA discipline manager Mike Fellows said: “Referees effectively police a game and we will act robustly to ensure they are given the respect they deserve. We will pursue, with all our powers, anyone who crosses the line.”
Leeson was dealt with in the same week Birmingham County FA revealed disciplinary statistics from season’s start to April 1.
They show 1,987 sendings off, an increase of 71 on the previous season, but a marked decline in bookings and misconduct charges.
Of more concern to FA top brass will be the five reports of actual assaults on officials, two of which have already been proven.
A ref was left with a fractured cheekbone and eyesocket after one alleged attack. There has also been one incident of spitting at an official.