Wednesday 25 June 2014

Suarez and the bite (again)

One Sunday afternoon I was walking along the beach in Seaford with my husband, 2 cousins and their wives and maybe a dog or two, when my phone rang.

I worked for two years for The Football Association in Child Welfare, it was a work call. It went like this:

This is ******* club in Redditch (adult none league team) There is a fight on the pitch, can you please come.

My advice was to call the police, but they didn't want to do that, they wanted me to come in an official capacity and stop the fighting.

Most of the players were fighting and half the crowd were on the pitch. I informed them of where I was and even if I was back home in Worcestershire it could've taken me 45 minutes to reach them so please call the police.

They actually asked if they could do that.

I used to get lots of requests to investigate things, talk to people about their behaviour and in quite a few occasions I received complaints and concerns in relation to child abuse, actual and suspected.

For some situations a word with the club was satisfactory, but in cases involving children or violence on the pitch, further investigation needed to take place. If an incident of violence was reported after a match via a spectator or a player then the referees report was the first port of call.

If a matter involving child welfare then immediate action would be taken, following correct reporting procedure the informant was encouraged to call the police. I would also call the police and social services and pass on the informants details.

A lot of people would think that you and The FA could resolve these matters and would call us before the authorities. I would also explain that unless they called the police I would do it on their behalf.

I used to say to people if the incident took part in a public place or a child informed you they were being abused who would you talk to then? If you saw a fight in the street, you wouldn't assume it was the responsibility of the shop keeper and report it to them, you'd call the police or ask to use their phone to do so.

So Suarez, why is this a matter for FIFA and his Country FA, yes they should be carrying out their own investigation, but this was an assault and if it happened in the street it would be reported to the police, so why don't footballers do this? and why don't their Managers, Clubs, County FA and FIFA support this?

I was bitten at work by a student with Autism, there was no point involving the police as it wasn't malicious, but I sure as hell blamed my employers for not doing anything about previous bite attacks when out that I was unaware of.


  1. My children used to be referees for soccer, some fights they could talk players down, others they had to step away.

    1. My eldest was a referee, after one match, girls under 7s, a father drove past him, stopped and yelled 'you're effing useless' and stuck his middle finger up at him. My son was 17 at the time and although it was after the match the club were informed and warned of misconduct