Violence by parents at children”s football matches could result in someone being killed, a youth league chairman has warned.
During one weekend, a parent threatened to stab a referee, another headbutted a volunteer linesman and young players threatened to vandalise a changing room.
In an email sent to all clubs in the Surrey Youth League, according to The Times, chairman Graham Ekins warned against the rise in violence at matches.
He said: “Would you want your name associated with a children”s competition that resulted in the death of someone as a consequence of violence?
“Don”t believe it wouldn”t happen. It did to a linesman at a children”s match in the Netherlands three or four years ago. If this continues I fear that this may be the result here.”
“This cannot continue. You as clubs and and all people involved in trying to voluntarily run children”s football need to take back control from thugs and idiots that are doing a great job of spoiling Sunday mornings for children and then occupying league officers” time for the rest of the week while we clear the mess up.”
Mr Ekins suggested the league could withdraw all referees if the problem continued.
Youngsters aged from six to under 18 play in the 800-plus clubs in the league in which referees are paid between £15 and £30 per match.
It appears the issue of violent behaviour at games is a long-running one.
In the chairman”s message in January 2015 on the league”s website, concerns about “general discipline issues” were raised.
“We have had what I consider to be too many abandoned games this year,” the chairman wrote.
“As much as we try to educate, it seems that some people still don”t get the message, and so reluctantly the children suffer because of adult poor behaviour.”