The Combined Counties Football League has released a statement in relation to the sanctions it has imposed following the recent assault on referee Daniel Sweeney.
Sweeney was the victim of a serious assault at a CCFL match between Mullingar Town and Horseleap Utd last Sunday week.
"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," said the CCFL statement.
"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."
Arising from the CCFL's disciplinary process, the following sanctions have been imposed:
*A spectator at the game (whom the CCFL described as a former Mullingar Town player who had been previously banned for life from playing football as a player) has had his ban extended to all football activity under the jurisdiction of the FAI.
*Three Mullingar Town players have been banned from all football activity under the jurisdiction of the FAI for 40 years (each).
*Mullingar Town are to have three 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 (at home and away games).
*Mullingar Town to meet the CCFL Executive Committee within three 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.
“The vicious, unprecedented level of violence directed at Daniel was unprovoked, unwarranted and unjustifiable,” said the league in its statement, noting that the incident had made “local, national and international headlines”.
“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.”
Normally, disciplinary procedures are kept between the league, clubs and, when appropriate, match officials and the FAI’s Disciplinary Control Unit. In this instance, CCFL officials opted to publicise its disciplinary findings to “highlight and communicate the gravity of the decisions made by the CCFL Executive”.
“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 statement continued.
“The Committee is committed to working with the FAI and relevant referees 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.”
It is understood that the decisions can be appealed through the relevant football governing bodies.