The game of shame
David Wolff says the players involved in running battles in last weekend’s match between Temple Fortune A and UJIA have brought shame on to the Maccabi League.
Referee Nigel Burns issued four red cards and was forced to abandon the game in Edgware after a mass brawl broke out in an ill-tempered affair.
Security guards at Barnet FC’s training ground in Edgware came on to the pitch to restore order amid chaotic scenes.
League chairman David Wolff said: "What happened on Sunday is just pathetic. I hope the players involved receive very long bans. These players are harming the league, the Jewish community, themselves and their families. They are a disgrace."
There had been a serious of unsavoury events earlier in the game where UJIA’s Ben Nassim was sent off along with Josh Gilbery and Dan Orgel of Temple Fortune, but the match reached boiling point after Fortune scored and violence erupted.
Gilbery was shown a red card twice but the referee has informed the FA the first instance was a case of mistaken identity.
Temple Fortune chairman Nigel Kyte was refereeing on the adjoining pitch. He said: "We as a Club were very saddened and extremely disappointed that this occurred.
"As a witness I am currently compiling a full report for the MSFL and subsequently the London FA when the matter will be dealt with at a disciplinary hearing.
"As a Club playing over 1,400 competitive matches over 37 seasons of Maccabi football, this is the third time we have had a match abandoned for misconduct and on this unfortunate occasion we will deal with internal matters accordingly.
"Although we have experienced a trying season, Temple Fortune FC remains a well-run club with a long-standing proud reputation and excellent name in Maccabi circles. We plan to complete the season and all aspects will be reviewed over the summer."
UJIA manager Ben Radstone described the episode as "very unpleasant". He said: "We will let the MSFL and FA make their own enquiries and assist them if and when required.
"UJIA have had an exemplary disciplinary record since its inception in to the MSFL and we will continue to battle for our survival in the first division in the spirit and the manner that Sunday football should be played."
This is the latest in a series of unsavoury events involving Temple Fortune A and MSFL Referees Secretary Martin Fox believes the club must act now.
"The whole thing was very embarrassing," he said. "It’s upsetting the whole league.
"The referee told me that Fortune were the main culprits. The language they used towards the official was just vile.
"With all due respect to Fortune chairman Nigel Kyte, he said he’d taken action the last time his team was in trouble but it all sounds like lip service to me.
"It’s clear to me that certain players shouldn’t be playing for the club and I hope the London FA takes appropriate action."
Wolff, who has been at the helm for more than three decades, says he feels frustrated the league cannot punish the offenders.
He said: "All on-field discipline is dealt with by the FA so we cannot touch it, but what happened on Sunday is unacceptable and we will not tolerate it."
Referee Nigel Burns has submitted his report to the LFA, with both clubs facing a misconduct charge, but he declined to comment.