Soccer thug faces lifetime game ban; COURT: New punishment threat to player facing jail after attacking teammate.
A FOOTBALLER who faces jail after violence flared at a Sunday league game could also be banned from competitive football for life.
Christopher Yewen, aged 25, of Grensill Avenue, Princes End, Tipton, admitted two charges of common assault when he went before West Bromwich Magistrates' Court yesterday.
The case was put off for reports with sentence due on June 2. Yewen was granted unconditional bail.
Chairman of the magistrates, Mr Karl Bevington, said: "Referees deserve protection. You can't just go around swinging punches at anyone. We are taking this very seriously and cannot rule out a custodial sentence."
Yewen is also facing a lifetime ban from playing any competitive game with a separate hearing before Birmingham FA bosses due following the court case.
Under current rules he faces the ban and a pounds 250 fine. There is a possibility of a review after five years.
The Tipton King's Arms player pleaded guilty to the counts involving fellow player Christopher Lambert and referee Steven Durnall, aged 23, during a match last November at Greets Green Recreation Ground.
Kully Kharie, prosecuting, told the court that trouble erupted during the Sandwell Sunday League match between Tipton Sports and the King's Arms team.
He said Yewen had become abusive and was swearing repeatedly at the referee who then sent him off.
He said team-mate Christopher Lambert challenged him about his behaviour on the pitch and Yewen punched him in the nose.
He said Yewen later re-appeared and attempted to butt the referee but was restrained by fellow players.
Yewen later waited outside the changing room and attempted to attack the referee again, but was once again held back.
In mitigation, Andrew Chowdhury said Yewen admitted to losing his temper from the start.
He added: "He accepts he should not have punched Mr Lambert but he was severely provoked."
Speaking afterwards, Mr Durnall said the experience had not put him off refereeing. He said: "You have disagreements on the pitch but things rarely go as far as that."
ASSAULT... Christopher Yewen.