Two Sunday morning Maccabi football teams were left ‘shocked and disappointed’ at the weekend after a referee refused to officiate a match and went home.
Following a heavy rain deluge minutes before the kick-off, Robert Caplin claimed the touchlines weren’t visible enough for the top-of-the-table Division Two clash between FC Team B and FC Team C to go ahead.
Left shocked by the referee’s actions, the B’s player-manager Mitch Young said: “The lines were on the pitch albeit slightly faded. It is Sunday League football, we had a pitch, two teams wanted to play and it is shocking and disappointing that he went home.”
The C’s manager David Gordon, who saw his side win 3-2, said: “Common sense could have been used and as it was an inter-club derby, there was a level of trust that the two teams could be honest when it came to decisions such as whether the ball had gone out of play.”
The game did go ahead when AC Mill Hill manager Daniel Beresford, who was at the game as a spectator, offered to officiate, though the sides did first have to get permission from League chairman David Woolf, who confirmed the result would stand.
And grateful for Beresford’s intervention, Gordon said: “We were extremely relieved to have Daniel there, so I want to use this opportunity to thank and credit him for refereeing the game very well. Ironically, he is the best referee we have had all season.”
Young added: “All thanks to Daniel who refereed the game superbly.”
Defending Caplin’s action was the League’s Referee Secretary Martin Fox. He said: “He’s within his rights to call it off, though I think common sense may have prevailed in this instance [by us allowing it to stand].
“Bob called me at 10.15, I was already out on a pitch refereeing another game, had he have called me at 9.45, I may have persuaded him otherwise.
“I didn’t see the pitch and have to go by Bob’s word – if he doesn’t think it’s fit to play, it’s not fit to play. From what I know, the lines weren’t marked out enough and he’s within his rights to call it off.
“I have to respect the referee’s decision, if he can’t see the line he doesn’t know if it’s a penalty etc – it’s very difficult for the referee and not fair for the players, I back his decision.
“It looks bad in the sense that the game was called off and someone on the sidelines stepped in, but I have to back the referee. The laws of the game lost, the spirit of the game won.”