A FOOTBALL match was abandoned yesterday after the referee was injured following an altercation.

The Sunday league match between Hartlepool teams Welfare Athletic and DPM Carpets lasted only five minutes before it was called off following an injury to referee Ronnie Chambers, from Blackhall, County Durham.

Mr Chambers had awarded a penalty to DPM Carpets and had waved away calls for a free kick in favour of the Welfare Athletic goalkeeper, who was then sent off for foul and abusive language.

Following an altercation, the referee suffered facial injuries which meant the match had to be abandoned.

A member of the Welfare Athletic team said: “I know the referee quite well. His face was just splattered in blood.

“The match was abandoned right away. The ground caretaker called the police and by the time it was sorted out the player who had caused the trouble had gone.

“The police came and took a statement. You just don’t expect anything like this to happen in a Sunday morning match.”

Mr Chambers, who was not thought to be seriously injured but could not be contacted yesterday, attended the NHS One Life Centre, in Hartlepool, for treatment.

The Northern Echo understands the player involved handed himself in to the police later that morning.

Both teams play in Division One of the Hartlepool Sunday Morning Football League.

John Cooper, league secretary, said the matter was with the police and the Durham FA would be contacted today.

He said: “Obviously, it will be looked into properly, but, of course, if anyone is found to have assaulted one of our referees, that person is automatically banned for life.

“We do not tolerate violence against anyone, players or referees or anyone, and that’s it.

“I’ve been secretary of this league for 20 years and I’ve never heard of a referee being attacked.”

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