Teenage referee allegedly assaulted by adult at youth soccer game in Montreal
The West Island of Montreal soccer community is shaken following a violent event at a soccer field in Dollard-des-Ormeaux over the weekend.
Video captured as an adult descends from the stands and appears to assault a teenage referee before other spectators intervene.
It happened during a U-14 football match.
“My reaction? Completely shocked,” said Robert D’Alesio, director of referees for Soccer Lac St-Louis.
The alleged attack took place in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, after the opposing team scored a goal.
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The incident ended when other onlookers intervened, tackled the man and arrested him.
“We are talking about incidents of verbal abuse of referees, but seeing someone come down from the stands and hit a referee is not something we expect, especially because it is the start of the season,” he said. explained D’Alesio.
The referee won’t speak publicly but D’Alesio says he’s fine and recovering from the experience.
The incident sent shockwaves through the football community, especially for the teams on the pitch.
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“We absolutely don’t want this to happen again and it’s not the kind of thing we want to see on the pitch,” said William Lawson of the Celtix Haut-Richelieu U-14 soccer team.
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Lawson says that following the incident, spectators were asked to leave the stands and the game resumed without referees, in order to give the players closure.
The general manager of Celtix Haut-Richelieu also denounces the incident.
“It is sad to see that to this day, some people still do not understand the stakes of a sports league, whose primary raison d’être is to develop young adults, so that they grow up in shape and with a work ethic in a healthy environment,” said Stéphane Rey.
“A 17-year-old referee who is just doing his job and becoming a victim of someone who is not able to manage his emotions is unacceptable.”
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Meanwhile, Soccer Quebec has opened an investigation into the matter, adding that they will work with the team so that the spectator is sanctioned.
“We need to send a strong message that there is zero tolerance for violence on the soccer field,” said Mathieu Chamberland.
The Lac Saint-Louis Soccer Association says the referee is considering filing a police report.
In the meantime, D’Alesio hopes what he calls an isolated incident will not discourage other youngsters from becoming referees, at a time when there is already a shortage.
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