Referee sued for libel over red card

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The case would have put the celebrated advocacy skills of the late QC George Carman – that famous defender of reputations – to the test.

But having successfully defended such big names as Sir Richard Branson and Mohamed Al Fayed, even Mr Carman would probably have balked at the enormity of representing Steven Edwards, a Sunday league footballer.

The 33-year-old white van man from Kingswood, Bristol, claims that his reputation as a firm but fair midfielder has been tarnished after he was sent off in a Sunday league match and is suing the referee for libel. Having been shown a precautionary yellow card for allegedly hurling colourful abuse on the field of play, he was dismissed minutes before the end of a derby match in the Bristol and Wessex League.

A letter from the player's solicitor claims that several aspects of the report for the Fishponds versus Park Rangers match in May, including claims that he used offensive language, were "totally untrue and libellous". Alan Purnell, 57, has been given seven days to make a full retraction and apology to the player, whose solicitor claims he has been booked only twice in 40 matches.

Mr Purnell said: "I couldn't believe it when I read the letter. To end up in court for a sending-off is a farce."