Referee suspended for scoring

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It was every referee's dream. One side are losing 18-1 and as a match it's all over. The ball suddenly flicks off a player's head and the goal gapes invitingly. A sweet left-foot volley makes it 18-2 and it's smiles all round.

The Essex County Football Association, however, failed to see the joke and has been accused of lacking a sense of humour by the referee in question, Brian Savill, who has resigned after being suspended for his goal-scoring moment of glory.

The 47-year-old Savill, from Colchester, scored one of two goals for Wimpole 2000, who were beaten by Earls Colne Reserves 20-2 in September. Sadly, his appearance on the scoresheet led to a charge of misconduct by bringing the game into disrepute from the Essex County FA.

Savill, a Royal Mail manager, disputed the charge at a hearing at the county headquarters in Chelmsford on 8 January when the case was proven against him.

The referee, who has 18 years' experience, said yesterday: "At the hearing I confirmed my earlier observations that the incident was a spur of the moment action which I could still not really account for.

"I anticipated at best 'a slap on the wrist' and a written warning as to my future conduct as a referee, and at worst a suspended suspension."

On Saturday he was told he would be suspended for seven weeks from the end of the month. He then faxed his resignation to headquarters.

"I shouldn't have done it, but it was done in the best of humour," Savill said. "I just can't accept that they haven't got a sense of humour.

"It shows refereeing can be enjoyable and that we are not Hitlers running around blowing whistles all the time."

Savill can appeal to the FA in London, but said he believes it was pressure from them that "dictated" the county's decision.