Minister to 'raise the issue of referee welfare with John Delaney' following Offaly ref assault

Minister to 'raise the issue of referee welfare with John Delaney' following Offaly ref assault
Photo: Joe Cassidy

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.

We depend on volunteers. There are 40 games every weekend across the midlands, hundreds across the country. We couldn’t have football matches without volunteers

“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

More in this Section

Five Irish-based players on European Player of the Year longlistFive Irish-based players on European Player of the Year longlist

In pictures: Tributes paid to Kobe BryantIn pictures: Tributes paid to Kobe Bryant

New FAI President keen for Brian Kerr to return to FAINew FAI President keen for Brian Kerr to return to FAI

England prop Kyle Sinckler joins Bristol on two-year dealEngland prop Kyle Sinckler joins Bristol on two-year deal


Lifestyle

It couldn't be easier to add life to soil, says Peter Dowdall.It’s good to get your hands dirty in the garden

Kya deLongchamps sees Lucite as a clear winner for collectors.Vintage View: Lucite a clear winner for collectors

Their passion for the adventures of JK Rowling’s famous wizard cast a love spell on Cork couple Triona Horgan and Eoin Cronin.Wedding of the Week: Passion for Harry Potter cast spell on Cork couple

After in-depth explainers on Watergate and the Clinton affair in seasons one and two, respectively, Slate podcast Slow Burn took a left turn in its third season, leaving behind politics to look at the Tupac-Notorious BIG murders in the mid-1990s.Podcast Corner: Notorious killings feature in Slow Burn

More From The Irish Examiner