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Refs call off threatened Oval boycott

Bermuda Referees Association (BRA) have called off their intended boycott of Southampton Oval.

The association had vowed not to officiate in any further football matches at the home venue of Southampton Rangers unless security was beefed up to ensure their members’ safety in the wake of last weekend’s alleged assault on referee Stephen Allen.

Allen is alleged to have been assaulted and threatened by Rangers coach Keith Jennings who could be brought up on disciplinary charges for bringing last weekend’s Premier match between his team and Dandy Town into disrepute.

Tempers flared after Allen awarded Hornets a late penalty that proved to be the game winner.

It had been feared that tomorrow’s Premier match featuring PHC and Boulevard at Southampton Oval would be affected by the BRA’s boycott.

However, representatives of Bermuda Football Association (BFA), BRA, Rangers and PHC were able to successfully defuse the crisis during a meeting at BFA headquarters yesterday.

“All parties reaffirmed their commitment to football recognising the ‘principle of solidarity’ in preserving and protecting the ideals of football as the cornerstone of all that we do for the ‘good of the game’,” read a BFA press statement.

”Everyone in attendance recognised the circumstances that led to the referees’ reluctance to officiate at the Southampton Rangers Sports Club. However, football is resolute in its mission and will not be deterred by the negative actions of a few.”

All those in attendance at yesterday’s meeting resolved to increase their awareness of the football environment together with a commitment to ensure all measures would be implemented as standard operating procedures for the remaining games of the season.

“It was also agreed by all parties based on the support and positive sentiments of the Bermuda Referees Association that all matches will continue as normal this coming weekend and throughout the remainder of the season at the Southampton Rangers Sports Club and all other clubs throughout Bermuda,” the BFA statement read.

“In making this decision, the Bermuda Football Association, on behalf of the 23 Full Member Clubs, players, officials and Referees, invite the general public to come out and support your favourite team as we draw to a close another exciting domestic season.”

Last weekend’s alleged assault on Allen was the second on a match official at Southampton Oval this season.

Hornets player Zaki Tuzo received a six-game ban after being found guilty of threatening a match official with his boot following his team’s league match with PHC.

Last month the BFA imposed a two-and-a-half-year ban on Somerset Trojans player Zaki Iris to send a strong reminder that unruly behaviour would no longer be tolerated in the game.

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Published March 03, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated March 03, 2012 at 6:51 am)

Refs call off threatened Oval boycott

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