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News: UK

Tue 26 Nov, 2013
By Robert Ingham

Joe Richardson says he was verbally abused by a suspended player during a match.

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Gay Referee Claims He Was Expelled After Speaking Out on Gay Hate

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A GAY football referee claims he was expelled after speaking out against homophobic abuse.

Joe Richardson says he was verbally abused by a suspended player during a match.

He reported it to police and asked for support from the Angus and Perthshire Referees Association, of which he was a member.

Joe claims they offered him no help.

And when he complained, they expelled him.

The ref said: “As far as I’m concerned, it is a witch-hunt, simply because I chose to speak out against them.
They left me no choice. I got absolutely no support.”

Joe said the verbal abuse happened during an amateur clash in Perthshire this year.

The 29-year-old, who has officiated games for more than 12 years, claimed his partner Jack Nicholson, 24, was also physically threatened off the pitch during the encounter.

Web designer Joe, from Dundee, said: “I sent off a player for violent conduct. Straight after that, I gave a free kick right in front of that team’s touchline. All I heard from one guy was ‘f****t’ and ‘fat p**f’.

“Later, I came off the pitch at full-time, I could hear a couple of players shouting ‘fat p**f’.

“My partner told me that one of them said to him, ‘I hope you’re proud of your boyfriend, I’ll punch your f***ing teeth in.’

“I phoned the referees association and was told I would have to deal with it myself. They stated that it was a criminal matter. They didn’t bother checking how I was coping. There was no concern.”

Joe said the refs association axed him after he spoke out about them on Facebook.

He added: “ Because I publicly stated that, in my opinion, they don’t care about the referees, they took umbrage.”

Joe has written to the Scottish Football Association asking them to investigate.

The Angus and Perthshire Referees Association declined to comment.

And an SFA spokesman said: “We can’t comment as the SFA will ultimately become the appeal body if the individual decides to take it further.”

Police are investigating the alleged homophobic abuse.

Source: Scottish Daily Record
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