Referee abandons match over player’s hearing aid

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AMATEUR footballers in South Yorkshire thought their referee had lost his senses - when he abandoned their game claiming a deaf player’s hearing aids were dangerous.

Keen pub player Craig Beech, 23, who has worn hearing aids since the age of four, had previously 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.

Craig, from Dinnington, said: “Everyone on the pitch was shocked. My teammates were pretty angry and upset.

“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.”

The referee spotted the hearing aids midway through the first half when Craig was receiving treatment for a minor knock.

He then told the Masons Arms team the aids were not acceptable early in the second half.

Five minutes later the match was abandoned.

Lol Clarke, Masons Arms secretary of 20 years, 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.”

The Sheffield and Hallamshire FA said a report had been received about the abandoned football match.

A spokeswoman for the FA said: “The report will be considered.”