Published: 10:00, 20 January 2022
| Updated: 10:11, 20 January 2022
Sevenoaks & District Football League side West Kingsdown Reserves axed their manager after a verbal confrontation with a referee.
Aaron McFerran was accused by the match referee of making him feel that his safety was in danger after an on-field incident during a cup match at the home of AFC Green Court in mid-October.
Mr McFerran was charged by the FA with misconduct against a match official and entered a guilty plea but denied using any aggressive behaviour. The disciplinary commission found the charge proven against the manager and handed him a 112-day suspension and a £75 fine.
The club had already removed three individuals from the club, including Mr McFerran, prior to the conclusion of the disciplinary case. As part of the FA commission’s conclusion they stated that they did not believe that the club would have made this decision unless Mr McFerran had used the aggressive behaviour and abusive language as described by the referee.
A report from referee Daniel Davis stated that with around 75 minutes played Mr McFerran entered the field of play and “adopted an aggressive attitude towards the referee while expressing his displeasure at the referee’s decision to caution his player.” Mr McFerran claimed he was attending to an injury but the referee gave no permission for him to be on the pitch and was not aware of the injured player.
Mr McFerran did leave the field as requested but was using abusive language as he did, according to the referee, stating that this “included lots of f*** words.”
The referee issued a red card to Mr McFerran after claiming he had “invaded his personal space, ‘eye-balled him’ and threatened to hit him.” It was further claimed that Mr McFerran “threatened to fight the referee and said ‘I will see you in the changing room after the game.’”
The referee was then surrounded by West Kingsdown players before their team’s captain ushered them away.
It is stated in the evidence that the West Kingsdown chairman “appeared to be regretful at the team’s and manager’s behaviour” when speaking to the referee after the match. Chairman Darren Faulkner was part of the team that day.
It was alleged that Mr McFerran issued further verbal abuse to the referee outside the clubhouse and that the official refused to engage in a conversation and was called a “jobsworth” infront of the team’s players.
Mr McFerran said he tried to apologise after the game but was told to “go away” by the official. His defence for being on the pitch was to treat an injured player, which had “confused the referee.”
Mr Faulkner, giving evidence, said that “no voices were raised or aggression towards the referee” but the manager was shown a red card.
An email from club secretary Mr Short included a statement from the manager, who said that he told the referee: “I am treating my injured player (and) once I have finished I will leave the pitch.” The referee issued a red card and McFerran commented: “When you are not being [an] egotistical official we will talk about your decision to send me off over in the clubhouse after the game.”
Mr McFerran entered a guilty plea but denied using any aggression towards the referee. The commission was, however, satisfied that Mr McFerran acted in the way described by the referee and that this constitutes threatening behaviour.