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Referee Assaulted in Edmonton?

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I was visiting friends in Edmonton this weekend and they were telling me about a ref being punched in the face at a soccer game in Edmonton, in the EDSA league. Apparently the ref fell backwards and hit his head, but I can't find any information on this, despite my friend's insistance that it was in the paper.

Can anyone substantiate this?

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The Edmonton Journal had a story on B1 of Wednesday's paper. Story says ref was hit by the player in Div I indoor game and hit his head on the hard surface and was knocked cold. Player faces possible lifetime ban.



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Ref suffers head injuries after punch

Accused player may face lifetime ban


An indoor soccer referee sufferedhead injuries when he was viciously hit in the face and knocked to the turf by a player.

With four minutes to go in a tie game in the Division I men’s league between Yugo United and Scona Blues on Monday night, referee Wayne Telfer was hit by a Yugo United player with the heels of both hands, falling to the carpet and snapping his head back. The player could face a lifetime suspension.

Telfer, 51, who has been a referee for more than 10 years, said he still had a slight headache late Tuesday afternoon, as well as a sore jaw. He has an appointment with his family physician today. He doesn’t know whether he was knocked out when his head hit the surface, which is an artificial turf carpet over concrete.

“Some people say I was knocked out,” Telfer said. “I remember hearing voices and still hanging on to a caution card,but I’m not sure if I was out.”

He was examined by a paramedic at the sceneand was able todrivehomeafter filling out witness forms. Nothing close to this has ever happened toTelfer duringhis career as a referee. An adult player once threatened to break his jaw and received a six-month suspension. He plans to go back to officiating after a week or two of resting up. “I love refereeing and I wouldn’t quit,” he said. “To me this is an isolated incident. My life goes on and I won’t let it stop me from refereeing.”

The incident happened near the end of a league game,during which a 4-1 Yugo United lead had disappeared and the teams were tied 4-4. Telfer had cautioned another United player for diving after a foul, which included a four-minute penalty. That’s when a teammate stepped in and gave him a “European punch.” The game was called immediately.

Police were called by a staff member at the Victoria Trail soccer centre and took statements from Telfer and several witnesses, but charges were not immediately laid.

John Hayes, a soccer referee for 25 years and an official with the Alberta Soccer Association, said the player is immediately suspended and will go before a disciplinary panel after possible legal proceedings are resolved.

The penalty meted out will depend on the circumstances.

It can range from time served in the temporary suspension to a lifetime ban for the player, and the team can be barred from competition.

After the incident the player immediately went to the dressing room, changed into his street clothes and had left the building before police arrived. “We take this very seriously and we do our best to protect the game and individuals involved from this activity,” Hayes said.

Both Hayes and Mike Thome, executive director of the Edmonton and District Soccer Association, said this is an exception and there isn’t a growing problem of violence in soccer.

Thome said fighting just isn’t part of the soccer culture, as it appears to be in hockey.

“It doesn’t happen very often at all because the penalties are so harsh,” he said. “If you play the game, it’s because you enjoy it. Nobody wants to be out of it for five years.”

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