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Player facing FA charge following referee ‘assault’
10:00am Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
A FOOTBALLER who allegedly attacked a referee after he had been sent off could be facing a 10-year ban from the sport.
Joe Spencer has been accused of assaulting Richard Walker during the Worcestershire FA Minor Cup first round match between Arrow 2000 and Welland.
The incident, which occured after the striker had been sent off for violent conduct towards an opponent, forced the game to be abandoned with a minute to go, with Welland leading 5-3.
He has been charged by the Football Association and suspended with immediate effect but, if found guilty, faces a minimum five-year and maximum 10-year ban under the rules of the governing body.
Spencer has been handed a separate four-game ban for the red card in the cup clash and on Saturday is due to start a three-game suspension for an unrelated violent conduct offence earlier in the season.
Worcestershire FA disciplinary manager Chris Dale said: “The Worcestershire Football Association have charged the participant Joseph Spencer of Arrow 2000 FC with improper conduct, including an assault on a match official under FA Rule E3.
“The player is suspended with immediate effect and has until October 15 to respond to the charge in writing.
“Thankfully, incidents of this nature are very rare in Worcestershire but we will always take swift and appropriate action under FA Regulation when they do.”
The incident comes only 18 months after Spencer was involved in ugly scenes that led to the abandonment of a Worcester and District Saturday League match between Worcester Rangers and Tenbury Colts.
A picture on the front of your Worcester News appeared to show the player, then a goalkeeper for Rangers, punching an opponent.
Spencer later claimed he had been made to look a “thug” but was handed a three-match ban by the Worcestershire FA after being found guilty of improper and violent conduct, although no criminal charges were brought.
Following last Saturday’s incident, Spencer will be fined £35 for each of his red cards this season in addition to the bans.
A decision on whether the result of the match will stand is due to be taken at a Worcestershire FA meeting later this week.