A MALE referee from Southsea has been banned from football for three years after posing as female officials on dating app Tinder.
Connor Mayes, of Brompton Road, created the fake profiles for three women, including Women’s FA Cup final referee Lucy Oliver, of Drayton.
Women in Football said the all three victims had ‘been through hell’ after Mayes set up the fake accounts on Tinder and Facebook and flirted with other men.
The campaign group said Mrs Oliver, wife of the Premier League referee Michael Oliver who is currently officiating at the Euros, had been forced to endure two years of torment.
But, said the group, Mayes, a former refereeing tutor at South Downs College, was only caught after he went on to steal the identities of Mrs Oliver’s referee colleagues Amy Robinson, of Gosport, and Paula Wyatt, of Petersfield, and also set up Tinder and Facebook accounts in their names to ‘maliciously pose as a woman’.
Women in Football said Mayes was given a conditional caution by police in December and last month an independent FA regulatory commission found him guilty of improper conduct and banned him from refereeing from all football-related activities until 2019.
Janie Frampton, ambassador for Women in Football, said: ‘Lucy, Amy and Paula have been through hell, with their reputations tarnished and their confidence shattered.
‘Mr Mayes can return to football in three years as if nothing has happened but the women need FA sponsored counselling now to help them recover from this traumatic online abuse and to ensure that they can continue as highly successful referees.
‘The fact that Mr Mayes worked with all three referees and then betrayed them in this way illustrates a shocking disregard for the standards of trust and integrity that must be paramount when working together as a team officiating at a football match.’
The News was not immediately able to contact Mr Mayes.