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27th May, 2022

Football referee spat at during Barnt Green Spartak match may blow the whistle on his career

Craig Gibbons 24th May, 2018 Updated: 24th May, 2018

A REFEREE who was spat at in the face by a Barnt Green Spartak FC player is contemplating whether or not to blow the final whistle on his career.

William Cemis, from Stratford, was distraught after being subjected to the vile incident by Sean Keeley just moments after sending him off in last Monday’s league match.

The game between Barnt Green and Feckenham was subsequently abandoned.

Mr Cemis was due to referee two more matches this season but decided not to officiate those games over fears a spitting incident could happen again.

Speaking exclusively to the Standard Mr Cemis revealed he was mulling over the decision to give up refereeing completely, despite the streams of supportive messages urging him to continue.

“I just feel too nervous to even think about stepping back out onto a pitch because I am unsure how a player is going to react if I make a decision which could be controversial,” he said.

“I have had to come off my final games because I am just not in the right frame of mind to referee any more games.

“I know it would be still classed as assault but I’d rather have had the player headbutt me than spit at me in the middle of the face because spitting is the lowest of the low.

“It’s a good job I wasn’t spat at in the mouth or eyes otherwise I would have had to have gone through numerous medical tests.”

Mr Keeley has been permanently banned by the Birmingham County FA from playing for any team under their jurisdiction.

“When you have refereed for 14 years you expect players to react to decisions as they get irate but not like that,” said Mr Cemis.

“At this particular level of football you just would not expect it either but at the same time it is one of those things that comes with the job.”

Mr Cemis added any referee involved in a spitting incident in the future should not ‘run away and hide’ and report the incident straight away.

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