Brendan Griffin, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, has said he plans to speak to the FAI CEO about referee welfare following an assault which left a referee hospitalised.
Referee Daniel Sweeney was attacked after the senior match between Horseleap United and Mullingar Town on Sunday.
His jaw was broken in two places, his eye-socket fractured and he had to get multiple stitches in his nose. It is understood the attack took place in a car park after the game.
Mr Griffing said in a statement: "I was appalled when I was alerted to this disgraceful incident over the weekend and I intend to raise the issue of referee welfare with John Delaney when I meet him later today.
"In all sports, referees are critical to our fixtures taking place and no person who goes out to officiate a game should find themselves in a position of having to defend themselves against a sickening attack of this nature.
"I would urge anyone with information relating to this matter to contact Tullamore Garda Station and the message must go out to all that there is no place for violence in sport.
"I send my best wishes for a speedy recovery to the referee involved in the incident and hope that his love of the game is not destroyed by this distressing matter.
He added: "Attacks of this nature are extremely rare but any such attack is one too many and we need to do our level best to ensure that the risk of such a thing ever happening again is minimised."
The President of the Irish Soccer Referees’ Society, Paul O'Brien said yesterday: "There is no justification for assault. We have grave concerns. Most referees want to be invisible."
The Secretary of the Combined Counties Football League (CCFL) Chris Hand says there is no room for violence in sport.
He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on Monday that the individuals involved in the assault of referee Daniel Sweeney have been identified, suspended and will be subject to a disciplinary hearing.
“This will be followed up with the strongest possible action.
“It was shocking to hear the reports from yesterday [Sunday].
“What happened transcends sport. It is now a big problem in society in general.”
Anybody with information is asked to contact Tullamore Garda Station.
- Digital Desk