Somerset must take stern action’
Crenstant Williams, chairman of the Bermuda Football Association referees committee, has condemned the racist abuse that referee Martin Wyer was subjected to in the FA Cup quarter-final match at Somerset Cricket Club at the weekend.
Williams has strongly urged the West End club to take “very stern action against the persons involved”.
Wyer threatened to abandon the tie between Somerset Trojans and Dandy Town in the second half after being verbally abused by fans located on the lower-level porch of the clubhouse.
The Englishman was bombarded by a barrage of obscenities and, after deciding that enough was enough, advised match commissioner Manny Faria that he would halt proceedings if the behaviour persisted. The Trojans coaching staff and several players tried to calm their supporters but were themselves subjected to verbal abuse.
“I’m very shocked, saddened and disgusted at this type of behaviour,” Williams said. “This type of behaviour and abuse needs to be kicked out of football altogether.
“Mr Wyer is one of our senior officials and this type of abuse really needs to stop because it’s going to have a negative impact on the game and also stop people from trying to officiate.
“As we all know, we are in a dire shortage of referees, so this is not going to help the game at all. I pray that Somerset Cricket Club takes some very stern action against the persons involved because we don’t need to lose Mr Wyer.
“He is one of our premier referees. I really hope some stern action is taken because the abuse really needs to go.”
Ben Smith, the Shadow Minister for Social Development, Sport and National Security, also called on Somerset to take action against those responsible for the racist abuse.
“We need to look at overseas leagues and how they handle these situations,” Smith said.
“The club should be held responsible for addressing these spectators and banning them from the facility and all facilities. This is an atrocious behaviour but not an isolated incident. There have been comments of the behaviour of fans at local matches and the things that they call out to players, coaches and officials.
“This is in earshot of children in many cases and the behaviour needs to be addressed harshly. If these people want to be at games, they need to learn to behave in the appropriate manner.
“They should have been kicked out of the grounds immediately, then once identified they should be banned.”
Lovitta Foggo, the Minister for Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, was unavailable for comment yesterday, while Vashun Blanchette, the Somerset president, declined to comment.
Dennis Brown, the former Trojans captain and coach, attended the game but left early because of the “bad language”.
He wrote on Facebook: “I actually had my daughter to the game and had to hear a barrage of language. I left the match with about 20 minutes to go because of that. At that time, I didn’t hear any racist remarks, but I can’t speak for after I left.
“I saw the ref make one mistake [in my opinion] but he is by far the most experienced and best ref officiating at the moment.
“All the verbal abuse was in the presence of club officials who should have asked for police assistance in escorting the offenders out of the grounds. Totally unacceptable to hear all that abuse. Alcohol sales and attitudes are ruining sports in Bermuda.”
Lionel Cann, the president of the Bermuda Referees Association, said that the incident will be addressed.
“I’m sure it’s in the match commissioner’s report and we will take from there and deal with it through the proper channels,” Cann said.
Wyer quit officiating during the 2014-15 season after being racially abused during an FA Cup quarter-final between Flanagan’s Onions and PHC Zebras at Goose Gosling Field.
He also walked away from the game during the 2013-14 season after a similar incident at St John’s Field.