Keeper spits on Ref: fan

TEENAGE players taking part in a Northern Summer Youth League match against older rivals in Byron Bay last Friday were exposed to soccer's uglier side when the referee was verbally abused and spat at.

The incident happened in the match between Byron Bay and a Football Far North Coast representative side, mainly made up of players aged around 15.

It is alleged that the Byron Bay goalkeeper verbally abused the referee and then let loose with what one spectator described as the 'biggest golly' he had ever seen.

Outgoing Football Far North Coast general manager Matt Kelso said yesterday that he'd received a text message confirming that the incident had taken place, but had yet to read the referee's report on the matter.

“Obviously, there is a disciplinary process to follow and I am unable to comment until that has run its course,” he said.

“From a personal point of view, if the incident did take place, it would be something that I would view in a very poor light.”

The Byron Bay goalkeeper faces a minimum penalty of six weeks, up to a maximum of about 18 months if found guilty of spitting at, or on, the referee, who is also likely to be a teenager.

“We'll have to wait and see what the substance of the allegation is and whether it has been reported and we don't know what Byron's take is on things,” Kelso said.

“It's not the best type of example to set an underage team.”

Kelso said the matter could either be decided by the competition administrator, who could hand down a penalty based on a review of the referee's match report, or it may be referred to a disciplinary panel.

Depending on which disciplinary course is taken it could all be resolved later this week or take several weeks to decide.

Kelso, who is about to step down from his Football Far North Coast post after eight years, said it would be disappointing to leave with a negative media report surrounding the Northern Summer Youth League, which aims to foster under-20 players.

“There has been a huge buzz about the summer league and the reaction to it has been hugely positive,” he said. “It would be nice to be departing on a more positive platform and not with a negative report in the media.

“But it is purely an allegation at this stage and we've had no substantiation at this stage.”

The spectator who reported the incident to The Northern Star said that the young FFNC team had its revenge over Byron Bay by beating them 5-3.

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