Player’s fine too lenient’

A judge's decision to impose a £200 fine on a footballer who repeatedly punched a referee has been condemned as "very lenient" by a senior member of Norfolk Football Association.

A judge's decision to impose a £200 fine on a footballer who repeatedly punched a referee has been condemned as “very lenient” by a senior member of Norfolk Football Association (FA).

One Football Club Veterans' goalkeeper Mark Rogers, 41, repeatedly hit referee Adrian Sannerude after he allowed an opposing team's goal, despite the linesman calling it offside.

At an FA hearing in January, Rogers was suspended from football for a minimum of 10 years.

Yesterday, after Rogers had admitted the assault at Lowestoft Magistrates' Court, district judge David Cooper said he believed the ban from football was already “a lot of punishment” and fined him £200.

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Prosecutor Ros Jones told the court Mr Sannerude was refereeing a match between Kirkley FC and One FC Veterans at Walmer Road, Lowestoft, on December 11 last year, when Rogers became abusive after the goal decision.

She said: “Mr Sannerude called the goalkeeper over, to which he replied 'I'll come over there, don't you worry', then ran at the referee, pushing him in the chest with both hands. He then hit him in the face three or four times with both hands before being pulled away by his players.”

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James Hartley, mitigating, said: “The FA has banned Rogers for 10 years and bearing in mind he is 41 it is unlikely he will play football again.”

Judge Cooper told Rogers: “You behaved like a complete infant. You should be ashamed of your-self. The fine is far less that it would otherwise have been but I am taking into account that you seem a good hard-working family man and you have suffered a lot of punishment already. I am also going to order you pay the referee compensation of £200 for injured feelings he may have suffered.”

In addition to the fine, Rogers, of Newbegin Close, Norwich, was ordered to pay £55 costs.

Last night, chief executive of Norfolk FA Roger Howlett said he found the sentence “absolutely amazing”. He added: “That is very lenient. If someone had gone out and had a few drinks on a Saturday night and had done what Mr Rogers did, would they have just got a fine?”

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