A GOALKEEPER has criticised a six-month ban he was handed for squirting a referee with water.
Tom Boyle, 21, who is deaf, says he lost his place at Bognor FC and his chance of joining the European Deaf Football Championships because of the ban.
Mr Boyle, a postman from Southsea, says Hampshire FA should have taken into consideration he was grieving over the death of his mother Jenny, from cancer, when it happened in a match between his former team Hayling United FC and Alresford FC in September.
He got into an argument with a player who was about to take a penalty against him and threw his water bottle in temper which splashed water over the referee. He was immediately sent off.
The lengthy ban has left his career in the balance. He says it was unfair in light of the Uefa punishment for AC Milan’s Gennaro Gattuso who was recently given just a four-match ban for head-butting Tottenham coach Joe Jordan after a Champions League game.
Mr Boyle said: ‘I was on loan from Bognor, a team I had always dreamed of playing for, when it happened.
‘They didn’t take into account that I lost my mum. Football has been my escape. It allows me to let off steam, anger and passion.
‘Obviously watching my mum go through something like that puts everything in perspective and I know this isn’t the end of the world.
‘But this has meant I’ve been out of the game for so long that Bognor, who loaned me to Hayling, have got another goalkeeper and there’s no space for me.
‘Once I was released from Portsmouth I set my sights on Bognor. My dream of playing for them is over now. That’s a high price to pay for what actually happened.’
Mr Boyle has put up with jibes about his hearing throughout this career. But he was turned down for a place in the Great Britain Deaf Football Squad for the European Championships in Denmark when he told the organisers about the ban.
He said they feared he was a ‘bad boy’ and he was not allowed to have a trial.
A spokeswoman for Hampshire FA said Mr Boyle’s actions were considered deliberate and the punishment was in line with the FA’s Memorandum of Disciplinary Procedures.
Mr Boyle is having trials with Moneyfields.