Referee Daniel Sweeney pictured in the aftermath of the vicious assault
The Combined Counties Football League (CCFL) has handed down very lengthy bans for the players and spectator involved in the vicious assault on referee Daniel Sweeney at a game under its jurisdiction in Offaly recently.
In a break from its norm, the CCFL decided to issue a public statement outlining the severity of the suspensions.
The league handed 40 year bans to each of the Mullingar Town players involved in the incident at the match played in Horseleap while the spectator has been banned from all football activity under the jurisdiction of the FAI. The spectator had already been banned for life from playing football as a player for a previous assault. Other sanctions were also imposed including a €500 fine for Mullingar Town.
The incident is still under investigation by the police.
The full CCFL statement reads as follows:
The recent assault on CCFL match official Daniel Sweeney resulted in local, national and international headlines. The vicious, unprecedented level of violence directed at Daniel was unprovoked, unwarranted and unjustifiable.
The incidents that occurred at the end and in the aftermath of this football game are not representative of the magnificent work undertaken by the volunteers in the administration, playing and refereeing of association football in our league or across any of the great leagues under the jurisdiction of the FAI.
Due to the widespread reporting of the events surrounding this game the CCFL Executive Committee has decided to issue a public statement relating to the outcome of the disciplinary findings. Our thanks are extended to both Horseleap Utd and Mullingar Town for their attendance and participation in the disciplinary hearings.
Historically, CCFL disciplinary decisions have been communicated between the league, clubs, match officials (when appropriate) and the FAI DCU (also when appropriate) only so the public issuing of these disciplinary findings is to highlight and to communicate the gravity of the decisions made by the CCFL Executive.
Arising from the disciplinary process the following sanctions have been imposed;
• The former Mullingar Town player involved in this incident as a spectator (who had been banned for life from playing football as a player for a previous assault) sees the ban extended to all football activity under the jurisdiction of the FAI.
• The 3 Mullingar Town players involved in this incident have been banned from all football activity under the jurisdiction of the FAI for 40 years (each).
• Mullingar Town to have 3 match officials in attendance at all remaining games this season (with a review to follow at the end of the season to determine if this sanction will need to be extended).
• Mullingar Town to appoint a Liaison Officer (independent to existing team managers and Committee) to liaise and assist match officials (home and away games).
• Mullingar Town to meet the CCFL Executive Committee within 3 months to outline plans for an improved club structure addressing existing volunteer deficiencies.
• Mullingar Town fined €500 for failure to control its players and supporters with the fine imposed to be passed on to the Daniel Sweeney recovery fund.
All of the above sanctions are subject to appeal as per normal football rules.
The CCFL Committee will continue to work with clubs, players, officials and match referees to ensure football can be played in a respectful manner and in a safe environment. The Committee is committed to working with the FAI and relevant referee’s bodies to encompass any proposals that may be introduced to enhance current policy.
While recognising that the incidents surrounding this game are still under investigation, the Committee would like to assure the Gardaí that it will continue to assist in its investigations and would like to extend its thanks for their efforts to date. The CCFL Committee will not comment publicly any further on this matter.
This statement has been issued on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Combined Counties Football League.