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Kids' team suspended after parents attack ref

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Kids' team suspended after parents attack ref
11:57 CEST+02:00
A entire team of eight-year-old footballers in Malmö in southern Sweden has been suspended from competition after several parents chased a teenage referee around the pitch to register their disgust over a decision.

"We have to do something to show that they can't behave like this," said youth referee trainer Bujar Fetio to broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT).

The parents took exception to an erroneous decision made by the 16-year-old referee and promptly ran after him issuing threats.

When Fetio, himself a referee with 25 years experience, made a move to intervene on behalf of the threatened teen, he was also subjected to the parents' ire.

"Then they attacked me and threatened me. The worst thing was that they attacked me physically," he told SVT.

While other parents also agreed that the referee had in fact made an incorrect decision, they condemned the reaction of their fellow parents.

"You have to try to keep a distance and remember that this is junior football. It is not exactly the World Cup final," said Håkan Palm, father of 7-year-old player, to SVT.

The decision has been taken to suspend the entire team, consisting of players aged no more than 8-years-old, from the remaining matches scheduled for the spring in order to take stand in support of the referees.

Bujar Fetio explained that the referees should be considered more "play leaders than referees" and underlined that their engagement in kids football is part of the learning process of becoming a referee.

"In a couple of years, it will be hard to recruit referees if we get more of these types of incidents," he said.

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