Assaulted official 'forgives' attackers, but 'questions if refereeing is for me'

The soccer referee who suffered a vicious attack after being forced to call off a match has said it made him consider whether he wants to be a game official.

Daniel Sweeney suffered serious injuries to his face on Sunday when he was assaulted, allegedly by three Mullingar Town players and a spectator, after the club’s away clash with Horseleap in the Combined Counties Football League (CCFL).

“I’m feeling sore to be honest. I’m feeling sore where I have my injuries. But look I’m getting on with it,” he said, in a video message recorded yesterday.

“It certainly makes you question should I be refereeing when you feel you’re not properly protected.

“So it makes you question whether refereeing is for you.”

He said he was brought up as a man of faith and holds no grudge towards those who attacked him.

“My main message is to say to the individuals involved, I bear no animosity whatsoever for what happened.

“Actually, I forgive you for what happened,” he said.

“What would I like to see out of this at the end of the day?

“I would like to see the day that a referee can go onto a football field, feel safe and be safe.”

Mr Sweeney, a father of two, also thanked people for their support.

“I just want to say thank you for all the kind messages of support. It’s just been absolutely outstanding and overwhelming,” he said. “I just want to say thank you to the hospitals that have given me great care and attention.”

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