Thu, 14 Sept 2017
A LAMBOURN football club has been fined and had a player disciplined after parents reportedly brawled on the pitch and a boy needed hospital treatment.
Rivals Burnham Junior FC Lynx Blues were handed an even heftier fine.
In March, this newspaper reported how the mayhem erupted during the second half of a match in Burnham, near Slough, between Lambourn Sports Juniors FC and the home team.
Police said there was an altercation and a 15-year-old Lambourn player was taken to hospital after being attacked by two men.
They appealed for witnesses to come forward.
The story then took a dramatic twist when a match report published on the Burnham team’s official website made serious, unsubstantiated claims against Lambourn players, officials and parents – including an assertion that one adult threatened another with a knife in a car park and later intimidated him in a road rage incident.
Coach for Lambourn FC under 16s, Simon Sutton, said at the time he was horrified by the match report and added: “We have reported it to the FA [Football Association], who are now investigating.
“These are wild and untrue allegations of the most serious nature.”
He said the atmosphere at the match was “volatile from the start” and that his young players had been threatened and intimidated.
Mr Sutton went on: “Then around 15 to 20 parents invaded the pitch and, in the ensuing melee, I tried to get all our players to safety.
“Safety is our utmost priority.
“Our players suffered sustained and outrageous abuse from some Burnham parents.
“I am currently compiling witness statements for the FA and we would like it to be known that we vehemently deny these disgusting allegations.”
The match report has since been removed.
Then in May, police said there would be no arrests and they were handing responsibility for dealing with the matter over to civilian football authorities.
The Berks and Bucks branch of the FA confirmed it was investigating but declined to comment further pending its findings.
This week, a spokesman for the Berks and Bucks FA, Alastair Kay, revealed those findings.
He said: “The referee made the initial report to us and, of course, we saw the match report and the allegations contained in it.
“We held off during the police investigation but then got written statements from the various parties.
“We were faced with wildly differing accounts.”
Mr Kay added: “Based on the evidence gathered we felt there was sufficient evidence to warrant charges.”
All the resulting charges were denied by those accused.
Those charged then requested personal hearings at which they could give verbal evidence and cross examine others.
However, in the event, said Mr Kay, no one turned up from the Lambourn side and so the disciplinary panel relied on their written statements alone.
Those charged from the Burnham side attended to give verbal evidence as well as written statements.
The disciplinary panel found as follows:
* The Burnham team was charged with failing to ensure players and/or officials and/or spectators conducted themselves in an orderly fashion. Result: Proven. Sanction: £100 fine
* The Lambourn team was charged with the same offence as above. Result: Proven. Sanction: A lesser, £75 fine
* A Burnham team coach was charged with improper conduct including violent conduct and threatening and/or abusive language/behaviour. Result: Not proven.
* A Lambourn team player was charged with improper conduct including violent conduct and threatening and/or abusive language/behaviour. Result: Proven. Sanction: £50 fine and a four-match suspension.
During the match a Lambourn player was sent off, but this was not the subject of any subsequent disciplinary hearing.