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Faithfold B in action last season. None of the players in this picture are understood to have been involved in last Sunday’s controversy.

by Andrew Sherwood

A referee was forced to abandon a Peter Morrison Cup tie on Sunday morning after being subjected to sickening verbal abuse and having been manhandled by one of the managers.

Paul Dobkin was forced to abandon the game between Brady Maccabi and Faithfold B in the 70th minute, after being told a serious injury sustained by a player was his fault – by which time there had already been two mini brawls and Faithfold had been reduced to ten men.

Describing the treatment Dobkin received, the League’s Referees Secretary Andy Myerson, said: “No one should have to suffer this type of intimidation. I was disgusted when I heard what happened. Referees don’t get up on a Sunday for this, it’s absolutely unacceptable. You have to respect referees, to be on the end of remarks from a player who’s acting like a vicious 12-year-old is completely out of order. I just don’t understand their behaviour.”

The trouble started in the 55th minute with Faithfold players unhappy with where Brady took a free-kick from, which resulted in their fourth goal. But the game erupted on the hour mark when a challenge from a Faithfold player led to a brawl. The Faithfold manager entered the field of play and, according to Myerson, grabbed Dobkin by the arm. After telling him to let go, the response was “Or what?”

Another Faithfold player then received a second yellow card for reportedly telling Dobkin he wasn’t fit to referee, before further abusing him while standing on the touchline. The game restarted, before another Faithfold player ran onto the pitch to remonstrate with the Brady goalkeeper, which led to another mini brawl, before the accidental injury to Ben Hilderbrand led to the suspension, and eventual abandonment, after another Faithfold player told Dobkin his stopping of the play meant players were cold and more vulnerable to picking up an injury. Faithfold now face four charges of misconduct.

Their manager, however, blamed the referee for the scenes and praised his players for their behaviour. He said: “The referee was appalling. He’s the one who spoiled the game.” Saying the sending-off of his younger brother was ‘pathetic’, he added: “He should not be refereeing. You’re refereeing young people, with a lot of egos, you have to be in control of it.

“He lost control of the game and made a couple of bad decisions, the one leading to their fourth goal upset my players. We were in the game until then. One of their players then did a filthy tackle on one of our players [which wasn’t reported], he reacted and it all erupted. Their goalkeeper ran half the length of the pitch – and punched one of our players, on the back of his head. I then ran onto the pitch to the referee and asked him if he saw it, he said: “get your hands off me”. I wasn’t grabbing him in a malicious way.

“I have absolutely no problem with how my players behaved. Tackles happen in football and tempers flare. I have no intention of apologising on behalf of my players as I don’t think they did anything wrong.

“It’s a disgrace we’re now facing four misconduct charges and it’s completely out of order. Really, we did nothing wrong.”

Condemning the scenes, League Chairman David Wolff said: “It’s terrible for the image of Jewish football and people wonder why teams are dropping out of the League? I wasn’t at the game myself, so can’t comment on either the referee’s performance or player’s behaviour. But I can only say what I’ve always said in the past, be it a good, bad or indifferent ref, players have to accept the decisions of the official.”