Linesman cops blast from vuvuzela

By James Ihaka

An Auckland soccer club has been told to keep its members in check after a vuvuzela-wielding supporter blasted a linesman with the instrument after a player was sent off.

The incident happened at a Chatham Cup match between Forrest Hill-Milford and Albany in Glenfield last Saturday.

A Forrest Hill-Milford player was sent off for spitting at the referee about 10 minutes from fulltime.

The ref did not see the player fire the offensive sputum, but gave him his marching orders on advice from the linesman.

Terry Hobin, manager of United Soccer 1, the football authority for the area from North Harbour/Waitakere to the Far North, was at the match and said the spectator had deliberately targeted the linesman.

"He did stand behind the assistant referee and blew his vuvuzela at him but after a few blasts he moved away.

"It was a bit of an over-reaction and probably not the best way to deal with things," he said. "The guy probably had quite sore ears afterwards so it is a bit of a health and safety issue too."

Though no official complaint has been laid with the club - and no ban imposed on the spectator - Mr Hobin said he would speak to Forrest Hill-Milford officials to ensure the spectator would never again use his vuvuzela in anger against a match official.

Football New Zealand communications manager Jamie Scott said the spectator's behaviour did not fit with the organisation's ethos of players and supporters showing respect for the game's officials. But Football NZ did not have a stance on vuvuzelas and any bans at Chatham Cup matches would be at the discretion of councils in whose areas the games were played.

"They were a unique part of the football in an African World Cup," Mr Scott said, "but I think Kiwi fans have their own aspect of crowd behaviour and they probably don't associate them with football here."

- NZ Herald

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