'Abuse' condemned after youth referee chased by 'non-uniformed official' during match on Portland

A football club and a referee support charity have condemned "vile abuse" aimed at a match official who appeared to be chased during a match on Portland.

A video started circulating on social media on Sunday 24 September showing a referee running away from another male.

It was posted by RefsupportUK, a charity that works with officials who have been targeted by abuse across the country.

Martin Cassidy, the CEO of RefsupportUK based in Weston-super-Mare, criticised the incident and said that the number of people contacting him has been steadily increasing.

"It has been going up but that is because people are trusting us with the footage of this horrific abuse," he said.

The incident took place at the Camp & Satherley Stadium

"I am still very scared about picking up the phone and getting a call where someone tells me a match official has been killed on the pitch.

"I have spoken to the referee involved in this incident and he told me that he has had struggle sleeping because of it. People need to be aware of the impacts this kind of thing has on not only the physical wellbeing of officials but also them mentally."

An official statement from Portland United FC confirmed that it is working with the Dorset FA to investigate the incident.

It says: "Portland United FC is aware of an incident that took place at the Camp & Satherley Stadium on Sunday 24 September and is currently investigating within the club and with the Dorset FA.

"At the conclusion of the football game a uniformed football official and a non-uniformed opposition official allegedly had an altercation on the pitch. 

"Portland United will not tolerate this action and has forwarded evidence collected at the game to the relevant governing body. At no point did a spectator enter the field of play.

Referee Mohammed Ghafoor using a bodycam at North Riding County FA, Middlesbrough Credit: PA

"Portland United is very proud of the hospitality on offer for all those who visit the Camp & Satherley Stadium and will continue to offer teams, officials, and supporters at all levels of football a warm Portland welcome."

The Football Association has been addressing a number of the concerns raised about the safety of match officials at all levels of football.

In the summer a number of body-worn camera trials took place across the country and for the start of this season teams could face a points deduction if they are found to have targeted a match official during a match.