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Referee who was attacked in an amateur game in London says he now fears being ‘MURDERED on pitch’

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referee who was attacked in an amateur game in london says he now fears being murdered on pitch

A shocking assault of an amateur referee has led to fears a match official will end up being killed in grassroots football.

Satyam Toki required treatment from an ambulance crew after he was punched three times in the face by a player he sent off in a pre-season friendly on Sunday.

The 28-year-old, who has a one-month old daughter, says he was lucky not to be left blind or brain damaged and is now ‘scared to referee again’ following the incident, which was filmed and shared on social media and has been investigated by police.

Satyam Toki (pictured) was assaulted during a pre-season match he was refereeing on Sunday and suffered a nasty cut above his left eye having been punched three times

Satyam Toki (pictured) was assaulted during a pre-season match he was refereeing on Sunday and suffered a nasty cut above his left eye having been punched three times

Satyam Toki (pictured) was assaulted during a pre-season match he was refereeing on Sunday and suffered a nasty cut above his left eye having been punched three times

Toki had sent the player off and was then attacked with team-mates forced to intervene

Toki had sent the player off and was then attacked with team-mates forced to intervene

Toki had sent the player off and was then attacked with team-mates forced to intervene

Toki has told Sportsmail he is pressing charges against his attacker – who is a newly-qualified teacher – because next time he ‘might bring a knife and murder a referee on the pitch’.

And that decision has been backed by referee groups, the Referees’ Association and Ref Support UK, who have both warned that an official will lose their life on the job unless they receive greater protection and offenders are handed tougher punishments.

In just the second weekend since amateur football resumed following the Covid-19 lockdown, Toki was taking charge of a friendly between NW London FC – who play in the 11th-tier Middlesex Premier Division – and Sporting Club de Mundial, a Hackney Sunday League side formed by football magazine, Mundial.

But the match in Acton, West London was abandoned after only 42 minutes when the level-five Indian-born referee suffered a bloodied eye after he was repeatedly struck by a Mundial player.

Toki had initially shown him a yellow card for dissent, an offence which leads to a 10-minute sin bin in grassroots, but then upgraded it to a red after the player threatened him.

‘I sent him off and then everything kicked off,’ says Toki, who works as a train conductor and, until this weekend, had ambitions to referee in the Football League. ‘He lost his temper and attacked me, punching me three times on my face. He tried to attack me again but some of the players stopped him. He then ran away from the ground.

The incident is by no means an isolated one and many referees have experienced abuse

The incident is by no means an isolated one and many referees have experienced abuse

The incident is by no means an isolated one and many referees have experienced abuse

The match was abandoned and Toki is scared to step onto the pitch and officiate again

The match was abandoned and Toki is scared to step onto the pitch and officiate again

The match was abandoned and Toki is scared to step onto the pitch and officiate again

‘I had excessive bleeding above my left eye. He was wearing a bracelet on his right hand. That was my mistake because I should have checked for jewellery before the match. But when he punched me, he caught me with the metal thing on his wrist. He hit me with something very sharp.

‘The manager of the home team and I called 999 for the police and someone else called for an ambulance. Thankfully I didn’t have a serious injury but he could have easily caught me in the eye and then I don’t know what would have happened.

‘My wife told me that I got away very lightly. She said, “What if you suffered loss of vision or serious brain damage – how could my family have survived?”.

‘I have been refereeing for six years, it is my hobby. But I am really scared to go out and referee again. I am still shocked from the incident.

‘I can’t believe this kind of thing can happen in football, especially in a friendly. I am still imagining what would have happened to me if this was a league game with something riding on it.

‘My family are concerned about my welfare and they don’t want me to go and referee again. I would now think 10 times to go back out there.

Toki feels he had to press charges on his attacker as he owes it to his fellow referees

Toki feels he had to press charges on his attacker as he owes it to his fellow referees

Toki feels he had to press charges on his attacker as he owes it to his fellow referees 

‘I am paid £40 a match but no amount of money is worth it to go out there and get serious injuries and be disabled for the rest of your life.’

Toki was initially reluctant to press charges, saying he was ‘influenced’ by the police, who informed him his attacker was a teacher and would lose his job. But after seeking advice from fellow referees on social media, he feels he owes it to his colleagues to take further action.

‘If I don’t press charges, this individual would get away and tomorrow, who knows, he might bring a knife and murder a referee on the pitch,’ adds Toki.

‘He should be punished as much as possible as a lesson for every other individual just to think before doing this sort of action. Every team should have respect for someone refereeing their game because if there is no referee, they won’t be playing their game.’

In a statement, Mundial said: ‘We categorically condemn the horrific actions by one of our players towards the referee. The individual involved has been completely removed from the football club.’

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson confirmed: ‘Police were called at 15:16hrs on Sunday, 9 August, to reports of an assault at a sports club in East Acton Lane, W3. Officers and London Ambulance Service attended. Following initial enquiries, no allegations were substantiated.’

One player had his hands on his head in disbelief at the shocking incident in the game

One player had his hands on his head in disbelief at the shocking incident in the game

One player had his hands on his head in disbelief at the shocking incident in the game

Sadly, Sunday’s incident was not an isolated one with footage emerging on the same day from another game in London when a referee was kicked on the floor and surrounded by players.

In their most-recently released figures, the FA said there were just 61 assaults on officials in the 2017-18 season. But those statistics only include attacks that were reported and then proven at a hearing.

In a recent study by the University of Portsmouth, 18.9 per cent of the 2,056 referees that were questioned in England said they had experienced physical abuse on the pitch.

‘We really do believe that, unfortunately, someone will be murdered as a match official,’ says Martin Cassidy, a former Football League referee and now chief executive of charity Ref Support UK, who has been helping Toki. ‘If that happens, we will be holding to account those people who we believe are responsible for not bringing in stronger punishments.’

In 2017, the FA introduced a mandatory five-year ban for anyone who assaults a match official, which can be extended to 10 years if it causes serious injury. For physical contact or attempted physical contact, a 182-day suspension is recommended, with a minimum of 112 days.

Cassidy, though, thinks referees should wear body cameras to enhance their protection and be able to prove offences – but those devices are currently outlawed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game’s rule makers.

‘We think it is irresponsible not to even have a pilot of body cams,’ adds Cassidy, who is considering challenging that IFAB rule at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. ‘I am starting to believe that they will only entertain a pilot if a match official is killed.’

The 28-year-old has a young daughter and feels lucky he wasn't blinded or brain damaged

The 28-year-old has a young daughter and feels lucky he wasn't blinded or brain damaged

The 28-year-old has a young daughter and feels lucky he wasn’t blinded or brain damaged 

The Referees’ Association are campaigning for tougher criminal sentences and have written to the Sentencing Council to suggest changes to their guidelines – a submission which has won the support of 50 MPs.

When sentencing for assaults, an aggravating factor that a court must consider is if the offence was committed against those ‘providing a service to the public’. Currently, however, this covers offences against the likes of shop workers and traffic wardens, but not referees, leading to some lenient sentencing.

In 2018, amateur footballer Luke Nicholls avoided jail despite knocking out referee Henry Ifesi, while one year earlier, Kieran Kimberley was also spared prison after headbutting official Craig Ward.

‘One day, we will be speaking about a referee being killed,’ Referees’ Association chairman Paul Field tells Sportsmail. ‘All the warning signs are here for it to happen and we have to do something about it.

‘This is all about prevention. The work we are doing with the Sentencing Council is all about having a proper deterrent to support match officials.

‘There needs to be an upgrade on how offenders are sentenced. The next level up would put us on parity with a traffic or park warden. We are doing our lawful duty and we don’t expect on a Sunday morning to be attacked.

‘The incident on Sunday was just disgraceful. Football has been waiting to restart for months and here we are in the second week with an assault. It beggar’s belief.

‘The FA has done as much as they can but there needs to be a real deterrent which sits behind it. It is time the Government stepped up to the plate and that the courts supported match officials.’

An FA spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of an incident that took place during a pre-season game on Sunday and we are working with London FA to provide support and ensure it is thoroughly investigated. Supporting match officials, at every level of the game, remains a key priority for The FA and for each of the 50 County FAs around the country as part of The FA’s Respect campaign.’ 

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UFC star Justin Gaethje slams ‘b****’ Conor McGregor as war-of-words between duo continue ahead of potential fight

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ufc star justin gaethje slams b conor mcgregor as war of words between duo continue ahead of potential fight scaled

UFC interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje has labelled Conor McGregor as a ‘b****’ on Twitter after a fight between the two failed to materialise.

The 31-year-old American was left furious with comments made by the Notorious to UFC president Dana White on social media.

Justin Gaethje has taken aim at UFC legend Conor McGregor on social media

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Justin Gaethje has taken aim at UFC legend Conor McGregor on social mediaCredit: 2020 Jeff Bottari
McGregor criticised UFC president Dana White on Twitter, leading Gaethje to hit back

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McGregor criticised UFC president Dana White on Twitter, leading Gaethje to hit backCredit: Getty Images – Getty

McGrgeor, 32, hit back at White after the 51-year-old claimed the Irishman had broken ‘man-code’ after the two-weight world champion shared conversations between the two.

White called it “one of the dirtiest things you can do”.

To which McGregor said: “Code was broke when you lied about me turning down fights mate.

“I said Justin in May and you went and said I did not want to fight. It’s not about Diego (Sanchez). Diego was a filler to get more fights in.

“Also you have been involved in Manny (Pacquiao) talks the legal letters are there. Stop lying.”

An infuriated Gaethje – who called out his rival last week – then replied to his tweet, as he said: “Conor McGregor not a good look lying on the boss.

“Anything to not look like a b****. You had me in January I was calling on you left and right and not a peep.

“My manager asked if I wanted you after Tony (Ferguson) but you know, f*** you.

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“You never wanted it, you took the easy road kid.”

Gaethje is set to return to the octagon next month at UFC 254 when he faces lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov.

McGregor meanwhile is in line to return to the boxing ring, where he could pit his wits against eight-weight world champion Manny Pacquiao in January.

UFC star Justin Gaethje urges Conor McGregor to come out of retirement

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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Culture Secretary warned EFL and National League clubs could be LOST without urgent financial help

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culture secretary warned efl and national league clubs could be lost without urgent financial help

Clubs in the EFL and National League are preparing to cease playing and wind up their operations after the return of spectators was delayed, the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has been warned.

A letter co-signed by 17 individuals including former Football Association chairmen Greg Dyke and Lord Triesman and pundit Robbie Savage says help is urgently needed to ward off the threat of financial collapse.

The Government announced last week that plans for spectators to return to sports venues from October 1 had been scrapped due to a rise in coronavirus infections.

Clubs in the Football League and National League could be lost without a financial rescue deal

Clubs in the Football League and National League could be lost without a financial rescue deal

Clubs in the Football League and National League could be lost without a financial rescue deal

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has received a letter warning him clubs need  urgent help

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has received a letter warning him clubs need  urgent help

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has received a letter warning him clubs need  urgent help

Dowden has now been told that without some sort of rescue package, a number of clubs will be lost.

‘Without any plans being made to rescue clubs, many in the EFL and others in the National League as well, are now actively preparing to make all but essential staff redundant, cease playing, close down their youth academies and community foundations, and put their business into administration,’ the letter warns.

‘This could lead not only to the failure of many historic community clubs, but the collapse of the national league structure that we have known for over one hundred years. These are decisions that will be made in the coming weeks, with many clubs unable to meet their payroll obligations for next month.’

The letter sent to Dowden in full

We wrote to you in May this year setting out the financial crisis facing football clubs, and particularly those in the English Football League (EFL), because of the loss of match-day revenue resulting from the government’s policies to combat COVID-19. We also detailed a game plan that could be put in place to prevent this. Since then clubs have been able to sustain themselves through advance season ticket sales, solidarity payments from the Premier League, and had agreed to start playing the new season in the belief that fans would be allowed to return to stadiums this autumn.

It’s now clear that spectators will not be back in EFL grounds, even in limited numbers, for the foreseeable future. As a consequence clubs will not only lose this budgeted-for income, but will also have to refund season tickets to fans who will now be prevented from attending matches.

There has been no agreement reached by the football authorities on a bailout for clubs that need it, many of whom were already heavily indebted before the coronavirus arrived. From the statements made by ministers at DCMS questions in the House of Commons on 24 September, it’s equally clear that the government has no current proposals to provide financial support, and nor is it prepared to offer any guarantees for the future.

Without any plans being made to rescue football clubs, many in the EFL and others in the National League as well, are now actively preparing to make all but essential staff redundant, cease playing, close down their youth academies and community foundations, and put their business into administration. This could lead not only to the failure of many historic community clubs, but the collapse of the national league structure that we have known for over one hundred years. These are decisions that will be made in the coming weeks, with many clubs unable to meet their payroll obligations for next month.

There is still time to act, but not long left. The government made £1.5billion available to rescue arts and cultural organisations across the country that faced closure because of the coronavirus. We believe that football, like other well-loved professional sports in this country, is also a cultural activity. We would ask that the government now make clear what financial support it’s prepared to give before it is too late. In particular, we believe that in order for clubs to sustain themselves over the winter and keep playing, they would need to be compensated for the loss of match ticket sales. The absence of this income is not a result of their actions, but the policies that have been put in place by the government in response to a public health emergency.

We understand that you had hoped that the Premier League clubs might make a significant additional contribution to support the EFL. Whilst this would be welcome those clubs too face swingeing losses from lost ticketing receipts and falling revenues from broadcasting matches. However, it cannot be the Premier League’s sole responsibility to sort out issues arising from government policy. The government itself needs to take responsibility, or many already-embattled towns – often in areas of the country which have suffered many hardships in recent decades – will lose their last focal point.

SIGNATORIES

Damian Collins MP, former Chairman of the DCMS select committee

Charlie Methven, co-owner Sunderland FC

Lord David Triesman, former Chairman of the FA

Lord Faulkner of Worcester, Vice-President The National League

Lord Goddard of Stockport

Malcolm Clarke, Chairman of the Football Supporters Association

Robbie Savage, former player and sports broadcaster

Greg Dyke, former Chairman of the FA

Karl McCartney MP for Lincoln and Chairman of the APPG for Football

Ian Mearns MP for Gateshead and Chairman of the APPG for Football Supporters

David Amess MP for Southend West

Rehman Chishti MP for Gillingham

Damian Green MP for Ashford and member of the DCMS Select Committee

Kevin Brennan MP for Cardiff West and member of the DCMS Select Committee

 

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A number of clubs in the EFL and National League are already planning to cease playing

A number of clubs in the EFL and National League are already planning to cease playing

A number of clubs in the EFL and National League are already planning to cease playing

The delay for the return of fans to stadiums has hit finances of lower-league clubs hard

The delay for the return of fans to stadiums has hit finances of lower-league clubs hard

The delay for the return of fans to stadiums has hit finances of lower-league clubs hard

The Government needed to set out what financial support it could offer, the letter said, because it was ‘not the sole responsibility’ of the Premier League to bail out those lower down the pyramid.

It pointed out that Premier League clubs too ‘face swingeing losses from lost ticketing receipts and falling revenues from broadcasting matches’.

The letter referenced the £1.5billion rescue package for the arts sector and added: ‘We would ask that the Government now make clear what financial support it’s prepared to give before it is too late.’

Dowden said on Sunday that the Premier League needed to ‘step up to the plate’ to help clubs in the EFL and said he was hopeful of a deal being agreed this week

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius set to complete season-long loan move to Union Berlin 

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liverpool goalkeeper loris karius set to complete season long loan move to union berlin

Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius is finalising his loan move to Union Berlin.

The 27-year-old, who has not featured competitively for Liverpool since the 2018 Champions League final, arrived in Berlin on Sunday evening and is undergoing a medical on Monday ahead of agreeing a season loan.

Liverpool wanted £6million for Karius who has spent the last two seasons with Besiktas and had enquiries from Montpellier and Hertha Berlin. He is surplus to requirements with Alisson Becker, who is an injury doubt for tonight’s clash with Arsenal, and Adrian well established at Anfield.

Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius is finalising a season-long loan move to Union Berlin

Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius is finalising a season-long loan move to Union Berlin

Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius is finalising a season-long loan move to Union Berlin 

Karius, pictured in training earlier this month, is surplus to requirements at Anfield

Karius, pictured in training earlier this month, is surplus to requirements at Anfield

Karius, pictured in training earlier this month, is surplus to requirements at Anfield

However, with nobody willing to meet the asking price, Liverpool have loaned Karius out for a year in the hope he can improve his market value. Liverpool’s Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi is also at Union.

Liverpool expect to offload more players before the end of the window. Burnley remain in talks over a prospective £15m deal for Harry Wilson while £25m-rated Rhian Brewster is waiting for Crystal Palace and Sheffield United to meet Liverpool’s demands.

Marko Grujic has interest from Borussia Monchengladbach and Liverpool would consider offers for Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri. Hull City are interested in Ben Woodburn and Poland U21 goalkeeper Kamil Grabara is talking to Greek club PAOK.

Liverpool are also adding Brazilian goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga from Fluminense this week for around £1.9m.

The 27-year-old has not featured competitively for Liverpool since the 201

The 27-year-old has not featured competitively for Liverpool since the 201

The 27-year-old hasn’t featured competitively for Liverpool since the Champions League final

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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