CAUGHT ON CAMERA: This picture taken from video footage shows the incident when verbal abuse and a beer can was hurled at refer
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: This picture taken from video footage shows the incident when verbal abuse and a beer can was hurled at refer

Hooligans at is again

By STEVE SPINKS

SOCCER referee Luke Mackney was called a f------ cheat, had beer sprayed on him and a beer can thrown at him at the Football Far North Coast premier division grand final on Saturday night.

The 23-year-old was also abused and threatened by members of the crowd after the game was won 1-0 by Richmond Rovers over Italo Stars at Oakes Oval, Lismore.

Mackney narrowly missed having a beer can hit him as he walked down the Oakes Oval tunnel with assistant match officials.

In footage seen by The Northern Star, a spectator with an Italian flag was seen to throw the can.

The behaviour by some players and members of the crowd was the culmination of a controversial match during which Mackney red-carded two Stars' players and awarded two penalties, one of which resulted in a goal.

"I'm going to submit a report (about the incidents)," a shaken Mackney told The Northern Star.

"I thought I was called a f------ cheat on the field but I was definitely called one in the tunnel at half-time. The player yelled it down the tunnel. It didn't even register with me that the beer can was thrown at me until a bit later.

"It shook me up because you don't expect that type of thing."

After the incidents, Mackney and his fellow match officials waited inside the Oakes Oval changing rooms for an hour.

They later used the lift to go up to the Gordon Pavilion to wait for the crowd to disperse.

The ugly scenes have Football FNC officials furious.

Football FNC general manager Matt Kelso said action will be%taken against the perpetrators.

"I'm personally disgusted by what happened," he said.

"I can't say too much because I'm going to lodge an official report myself, but those involved will definitely be punished. I was really surprised at the personal abuse and I'm disappointed by the people that took part.

"We've had 44 grand finals during the course of this month and three minutes of complete and utter stupidity has ruined what was a hugely positive month."

Mackney intends to continue refereeing next season.

Last week, the The Northern Star exposed incidents local referees have endured this season.

One referee, a 13-year-old girl, was called a f whore during a premier division match.

Another was confronted by a player with a cigarette who threatened to burn out his eyes during an Over-35s game.



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