08:00 Tuesday 21 January 2014

Headbutt puts red card referee in hospital

Written byROB SMYTH

POLICE are set to launch an investigation after a referee spent two days in hospital recovering from injuries suffered when he was headbutted by a player.

Dave Clarke was left with a depressed cheekbone fracture following the incident as he produced a red card during the Pedigree/Tag league game between Eton Athletic and Real Medina FC at Eton Park Recreation Ground in Shakespeare Road, Burton.

The 63-year-old’s injuries were so severe that he had to be transferred to the Royal Derby Hospital for specialist treatment after being assessed at

Burton’s Queen’s Hospital.

The match had to be abandoned and Mr Clarke has reported the matter to Staffordshire Police, who are expected to launch an investigation today.

Nigel Peck, Burton FA chairman, said: “All I can say is that the police have been notified about an incident during a game at the weekend and the Birmingham County Football Association, who oversee the league in Burton, are also investigating an incident.”

The official, who has been refereeing matches in Burton for 37 years, is now recovering from his injuries at his home in the town.

Eyewitnesses told the Mail that the game had not been ‘ill tempered’ until Mr Clarke looked set to send off one of the players.

This was when he was allegedly headbutted.

A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: “We can confirm that we called just after noon on Sunday as the injured party wanted to report an alleged assault at a football game in Burton, which took place at around 3.30pm on Saturday. Officers will be interviewing the man in question at some point on Tuesday.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101.

The Mail attempted to contact both clubs about the incident but without success.

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