Referees' Association demands increased penalties for assaulting officials after latest attack

Tom Morgan
·3-min read
Videograb taken from NW London FC of amateur referee Satyam Toki reacts after being punched by a player who had been sent off - PA Photo
Videograb taken from NW London FC of amateur referee Satyam Toki reacts after being punched by a player who had been sent off - PA Photo

An amateur football referee was left bleeding after being punched in the face during a grass-roots match, it emerged on Tuesday after governing bodies demanded more legal protections following a spate of attacks on match officials.

Satyam Toki, 28, a father-of-one originally from India, said he was unsure whether to press charges after being left with cuts to his face during a attack by a Sunday league player during a friendly in west London on Sunday.

The incident came to light just 24 hours after Paul Field, the chairman of the Referees’ Association, claimed a match official will eventually be killed unless more serious punishment is handed out to those who abuse them.

The organisation has written to the Sentencing Council to suggest changes to the guidelines to increase penalties for assaults on football referees, all other sports officials and those acting in the exercise of lawful authority.

Toki was attacked by a striker, who was playing for Sunday league side Sporting Club de Mundial - based in east London. He has not been named but is believed to work in a school.

Mr Toki, a train conductor who lives with his wife and one-month-old daughter in west London, told the Press Association agency he had asked the player several times to control his language and stop complaining, eventually giving him a 10-minute sin bin.

"He started walking towards the bench and while walking away he threatened me to see me after the match," Mr Toki said. "That was the point where I showed him the red card and got punched immediately in the face. I almost lost my vision for a couple of seconds, followed by excessive bleeding."

Satyam Toki - PA Photo
Satyam Toki - PA Photo

In a statement, Sporting Club de Mundial said: "We as a club would like to publicly state that we categorically condemn the horrific actions by one of our players towards the referee."

Police and ambulance workers attended after the Acton attack, which saw the match suspended, but Mr Toki said he was unsure whether he wanted to pursue the incident any further. "It has been reported to the FA and they are dealing with this matter as a matter of urgency," he said.

Wasim Khan, manager of Mundial's opponents NW London FC, said he was shocked by the violence, but praised his players for gathering to support the referee afterwards.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "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 nquiries no allegations were substantiated." The FA said in a statement that it was aware of the incident and that "supporting match officials, at every level of the game, remains a key priority for The FA."