Bristol

Bath City youth footballers made to change pants by pitch

  • 27 September 2011
  • From the section Bristol

A football chairwoman said a referee making two teenagers change their underwear by the pitch during an FA Youth Cup match was "inappropriate".

The two Bath City youth players were asked to change by the referee because the colour of their underwear did not match the rest of their kit.

While they were changing, opponents Newport County scored and Bath's manager Billy Clark was sent off.

Chair Manda Rigby said the boys should not have to change in front of a crowd.

Fifa rules state undershorts must match the colour of the rest of the kit.

Bath eventually lost the game 6-0, accruing six red cards, including for the manager and a substitute.

"They went to the side of the pitch, which was probably a little humiliating for them to strip down and take their underpants off," Ms Rigby said.

'Common sense'

"So you can understand that their team-mates and our manager were a little frustrated.

"I would have hoped there would have been some common sense.

"I would have hoped someone would have thought the purpose behind this rule isn't to make a 16-year-old strip in front of a crowd."

Bath managing director Paul Williams said he was "angry" with the match official.

"Why didn't the officials check the colours before the start?

"It was all very surreal. I was angry with the officials. Rules are rules, but the officiating wasn't what it should have been for a youth cup tie.

"Every team has to submit a report about the officials to the FA. Let's just say ours is a very long report."

The Football Association said during the course of the match, three players were sent off for foul and abusive language and two for second yellow cards and added that it did not comment on the performance of match referees.

Tim Harris, director of football at Newport County, who hosted the match, told BBC Radio Wales the situation cried out for common sense.

"I was watching the games from the sidelines, the game's been stopped - a player was asked to remove his underwear; something's been said.

"It seems ludicrous that in this day and age something as small as this has been blown up out of all proportion.

"The referee might say he applied the letter of the law but common sense should prevail."

John Dicker, who has been a football referee in the area for 40 years, said: "The linesman should have made sure that their entire kit was matching. These are the laws.

"It's about a consistency, otherwise you've got a patchwork quilt."

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