A football referee from the Hérault district was violently assaulted last weekend. The facts took place during a meeting counting for the French U19 championship between Marseillan and La Peyrade. While he was checking the health passes of the players in the match, several Marseillan players did not have them. He then, as required by the rules, decided not to play this meeting.
The decision was not to the liking of one of the players, 17, who severely beat him on his way to his vehicle. Aged 35, the referee had to be transported to the emergency room and was prescribed a minimum of four days of ITT. “Unaf Occitanie and all the departmental sections strongly condemn this act of violence and recall that the football referee is charged with a public service mission by virtue of the Lamour law of 23 October 2006”, recalls the National Union of Arbitrators of France in a press release. To attack an arbitrator is an aggravating circumstance before the criminal court.
The perpetrator faces jail and suspension for several years
While the practice of sport was authorized without a health pass for underage athletes until September 30, a circular from the Minister of Sports changed access. It is now compulsory for all players over the age of twelve in the practice of sport. “To my knowledge, this is the first time that the application of these measures has been the source of such an outburst of violence”, explains David Blattes, the president of the Hérault district who has taken a civil action in order to support the referee.
“It is scandalous to attack a referee and we are completely at his side,” continues David Blattes. Every weekend, I go to the fields to attend the meetings, from the little ones on Saturday morning, to adults on Sunday afternoon. The sanitary pass has become commonplace. I do not minimize it and the perpetrator of this assault is liable to disciplinary and criminal sanction, but this type of behavior is extremely rare. The perpetrator risks several years of suspension but also a prison sentence and a heavy fine. His club also risks being sanctioned.
The fall in the number of arbitrators and licensees since the health crisis
“Overall, there are fewer cases of serious violence against referees in recent seasons, even if each of them is one too many,” continues the president of the Hérault district. On the other hand, verbal and behavioral intimidation is still too much, from the players and the environment. »Clubs are required to have a sufficient number of referees according to the number of teams entered in the various championships. With, with the key, sanctions going up to the prohibition to go up in higher division for those which are in infringement of long time.
“We have lost a third of our referees compared to last season, it’s huge and it corresponds to the drop in our licensees since the Covid-19 crisis. Many people, scalded by last season when they took a license to finally be able to play only a few games, have decided not to leave ”, notes the leader with bitterness.