A REFEREE stunned amateur footballers in South Yorkshire when he abandoned a game – claiming a deaf player’s hearing aids were dangerous.
Keen pub football player Craig Beech, 23, who has worn hearing aids since the age of four, has played more than 120 matches without any problem.
But when referee Gary Mellor spotted his aids he halted the game – and when Mr Beech’s teammates refused to carry on without him, the referee abandoned the top-of-the-table local match.
Mr Beech, of Dinnington, near Rotherham, said: “Everyone on the pitch was shocked.
“My teammates were pretty angry and upset.”
He added: “No-one would get hurt but, without the aid I can’t hear the whistle or other people and that would be more dangerous to other players.
“If the ref blows and I don’t hear it I might carry on and go in for a tackle someone is not expecting.”
The referee spotted the hearing aids midway through the first half when Mr Beech was receiving treatment for a minor knock.
Early in the second half he told the Masons Arms team that Mr Beech could not continue to play while still wearing the aids.
Five minutes later the match was abandoned, with the Masons Arms losing one nil to pub rivals the Pewter Pot.
Masons Arms secretary of 20 years, Lol Clarke, said: “I’d never seen anything like it.
“It was sad to end on a sour note. It was a close game between two sides near the top of the table, great weather and not a bad word from anyone.
“But our lads said they weren’t carrying on if Craig couldn’t. They wanted to get the game over and then let the officials look at it.
“Craig’s a quiet lad, gets on with things and his hearing has never been an issue. He’s really grown in stature since he’s been on the team.”
A spokeswoman for the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA said that a report had been received about the abandoned football match.
She added: “The report will be considered and charges for breach of FA rules will be preferred as appropriate and necessary.
“We will then await a response from the club which will include an explanation of events and any mitigation before the disciplinary committee come to a decision on the incident.”