Referees boycott Oval following ugly fracas
Southampton Rangers have vowed to take swift action against those involved in an ugly incident that marred last weekend’s Premier match between Rangers and Dandy Town at Southampton Oval.
According to eyewitness reports, match officials were threatened and assaulted after the match ended 2-1 in Town’s favour.
It is alleged that Rangers players, officials and fans were involved in the nasty incident that is believed to have stemmed from referee Stephen Alen’s decision to award the visitors a late penalty, which turned out to be the game winner.
Rangers players and team officials argued in vain that Town’s Seion Darrell took a dive in the box and was not fouled as match officials ruled.
In the wake of the latest incident to tarnish local football, Bermuda Referees Association (BRA) have taken matters into their own hands and decided to boycott officiating matches at Southampton Oval unless security is beefed up at the South Shore sports venue.
“We the BRA feel that we must take a firm stance on such assaults/ behaviour towards our officials. To this end, we will not official anymore matches at Southampton Oval until we can get assurances that security and the safety of our officials will be improved,” said BRA president Kuhn Evans in a press release.
“The BRA wish to state our extreme displeasure at the events that unfolded at the conclusion of the match between Southampton Rangers and Dandy Town at the Southampton Oval on Sunday 26th February, 2012. The behaviour displayed by Rangers officials, players and fans was deplorable to put it lightly.”
Southampton Rangers president Randy Raynor suggested that those involved in the incident now risk being banned from his club’s premises.
“What we are doing now is looking at the surveillance cameras to see exactly who was involved and then we will take the necessary action against the culprits,” he said. “I am meeting with my executive tomorrow (today) to get to the bottom of this because Southampton Rangers does not condone these actions.”
Raynor said his club has already apologised to BRA president Evans and began exploring various ways of tightening up security during football matches at their venue.
“We have apologised to BRA for the incident and in light of what took place we are going to beef up the security and restrict where people can sit and walk,” he added.
Evans said incidents such as the one that marred last weekend’s Premier clash at Southampton Oval are having a detrimental effect on his association.
“Locally we suffer from low numbers and an unwillingness of people to take up the whistle,” he added. “This is due in part to the abuse match officials receive.”
Evans now hopes Bermuda Football Association (BFA) will deal with those involved in Sunday’s incident to the fullest and said the BRA remain “open to dialogue on these and other issues to the improvement of the game and maintaining the spirit of Fair Play”.
“Assaults on and threats made to match officials is being condemned worldwide by footballing associations, with harsh and quick punishments being meted out,” he added. “We await the timely completion of the disciplinary proceedings of the Bermuda FA.”
Last month the BFA imposed a two-and-a-half-year ban on Somerset Trojans defender Zaki Iris to send a strong reminder that unruly behaviour will no longer be tolerated in the game.
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