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Police called to football tournament at Goodwin Academy in Deal

By Eleanor Perkins

Police are investigating an alleged assault at a football tournament attended by more than 800 children.

It happened at Deal Town Rangers Youth FC’s two-day tournament on Goodwin Academy’s playing fields in Mill Road.

A manager from a participating team is believed to have pushed a teenage referee to the ground in front of players as young as six.

Youngsters taking part in the tournament

Youngsters taking part in the tournament

Police attended the scene between 1pm and 1.14pm on Saturday and are now appealing for witnesses.

One parent, who did not wish to be named, said: “A coach shoulder jabbed the other coach and when the young ref went over the coach pushed him.”

She added: “The poor ref was only about 16. It was pathetic. I hope the coach gets banned.”

Deal Town Rangers Youth FC chairman Alan Clarke said: “An incident occurred at our two-day tournament between a manager and a referee.

“It is being looked at by the police and after that it will be looked at by the Kent Football Association.

The event was held at Goodwin Academy's playing fields

The event was held at Goodwin Academy's playing fields

"He was not a member of Deal Town Rangers FC but came from a participating club.

“This was the biggest event ever with 110 teams from 30 clubs taking part, over 850 players in 305 games and in 10 age groups.

“It’s just a shame one incident marred the excellent event.”

A spokesman for Kent FA said the organisation was investigating the incident.

It comes in the same week that Kent County Football League secretary Gavin Hoare warned clubs could be expelled from the county league if on-field discipline did not improve.

"The poor ref was only about 16... it was pathetic. I hope the coach gets banned" - a parent who witnessed the attack

Mr Hoare said the league may present rule changes for the 2018/19 season should the problem of serious misconduct continue.

Speaking at the league’s annual meeting in Sittingbourne, he said: “If you cannot control those setting out to give your club and this league a bad name, we will look at ways of doing it, and if we have to take the ultimate sanction, then we would expect all those who share our beliefs and ethos to give us their full support.

“Fixtures abandoned through serious player misconduct must carry the harshest of penalties.

“Do we want to see people put in hospital because players cannot control their emotions and anger? If you do then you are in the wrong league.

“There are existing rules that we can use and will use.”

He added: “You cannot keep blaming match officials for all the problems, the league has played its part, and removed referees not making the grade.

“Let’s see clubs rid themselves of the mindless few who cannot control themselves.”

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