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Devon football referee punched by player

A football referee from Devon says he might quit the game after he was punched in the face by a player he sent off. Don Distin, 49 was treated for bruised eyes and a split lip after the incident at an Ashburton and Torre reserve team match on Saturday.

"I had an x-ray at the hospital and at the present time they can't see any fracture and there is just bruising and trauma.

"But I can't open my right eye and there is a lot of bruising around it and swelling to my cheek. It is difficult to eat and I am a bit despondent."

– Don Distin, referee

"I have never seen anything like it and I've been involved in the game for 40 years.

"I have been a referee myself and this was an absolute disgrace.

"Everyone ran on the pitch. It was a totally shocking thing to see, even their players couldn't believe it. The league has to come down very hard on this."

– Mark Uglow, Ashburton Reserves Manager

Jamie Aylett, chairman and secretary of Torre FC, described the player's behaviour as "disgraceful" and said his team was quitting the league.

"We wish the referee a speedy recovery and would like to state that since the incident we have withdrawn from the league because we no longer have any credibility.

"I'm getting lots of grief on football forums but this is one incident by a player who has let the whole league system down."

– Jamie Aylett, chairman and secretary of Torre FC

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed they were called at 3.15pm Saturday after an altercation between a match official and a player. No arrests have been made.

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