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Hollingbourne footballer banned for punching referee

Hollingbourne FC player Brett Tupper was suspended for 10 years by the Kent Football Association after referee Mick Brookes was left in a heap during a game on Saturday, September 16.

An overzealous tackle and a head-butt during a cup match against Lenham Wanderers led to Mr Brookes brandishing a red card before he was struck.

Referee Mick Brookes shortly after being punched

Referee Mick Brookes shortly after being punched

Police and paramedics arrived at the playing fields at Greenway Court Road shortly after 4pm and the 59-year-old ref was later taken to hospital.

A witness, who did not wish to be named, said: “The ambulance was there and so were the police, and all the players started fighting each other.

“There was a bad tackle and as the referee was dealing with that a different player head-butted another player.

“He sent him off and before he could send the other player off he was knocked cold out.”

Mr Brookes, who has refereed for 33 years, was fortunate not to suffer a fractured jaw and cannot remember anything from the violent incident.

Brett Tupper

Brett Tupper

Following the incident, he said: “I’m OK now. I have a bit of pain and swelling and I am taking drugs that the hospital has given me. Fortunately, the jaw isn’t broken.

“It caught me by surprise and I didn’t see it coming at all. Before I knew it, I was on the deck.”

A police spokesman confirmed a criminal investigation was under way.

A 28-year-old man from Maidstone was arrested on October 4, on suspicion of assault, and has since been released while the investigation continues.

Anyone who witnessed the incident and has not yet spoken to officers is asked to call police on 01622 604100 quoting YY/026591/17 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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