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Amateur footballer who fractured 'linesman's' jaw during match warned he could face jail

Thomas Forshaw, from Clayton-le-Moors, punched the victim after the opposition scored a goal

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Thomas Lee Forshaw, 24, of Devonshire Drive, Clayton-le-Moors.

A footballer who fractured a ‘linesman’s’ jaw after the opposition scored a late goal has been warned he is facing jail.

Thomas Forshaw, of Clayton-le-Moors, punched victim Masihullah Patel in the face during an amateur match between Clayton Park and Euro Garages.

Blackburn Magistrates Court heard Mr Patel, manager of the Euro Garages team, was enlisted to act as linesman during the game on February 11 this year.

The court heard how a ‘manager to manager debate’ broke out towards the end of the game after Euro Garages scored a goal before Forshaw, a player for Clayton Park, punched Mr Patel fracturing his jaw.

Forshaw, 24, of Devonshire Drive, pleaded guilty to GBH and will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on August 20.

District Judge David Purcell said it was ‘extremely unacceptable behaviour’ and warned Forshaw that he was facing an 18-month jail sentence on the sentencing guidelines.

He told the court: “Violence of this sort is not acceptable in sport whether that’s professional or amateur. Officials are to be respected.

“To my mind assaulting officials in a football match is a substantial aggravating feature.

“If amateur officials are assaulted how are you are you ever going to be able to play an amateur game because you won’t get any officials?

“I watched with horror and outrage the England Columbia game where the referee was berated for four minutes over awarding a penalty.

“It seems to me that unless someone takes a grip and says this is unacceptable then it will carry on.

“It seems to me that footballers are entitled to celebrate and supporters or the other team getting upset about that is inappropriate.”

Defence solicitor Ben Leech said Forshaw ‘reacted inappropriately’.

He told the court: “The gentleman who was assaulted was the manager of the other team.

“At the time of the game taking place he had to put on the cap of the linesman because there was nobody else to play that role.

“He plays the role of linesman during the game and he also plays the manager’s role.

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“Once the linesman comes away from that role he involves himself in a debate with the other manager.

“It’s a manager to manager debate in which heads are placed together and the defendant reacts inappropriately.”