'I forgive you' – Soccer referee injured in vicious attack says he bears 'no animosity'

THE soccer referee who suffered a vicious attack after being forced to call off a match has told the perpetrators he forgives them.

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).

“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 in a video message.

“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.

“I just want to say thank you to the hospitals that have given me great care and attention.”

The video was shown on RTE’s Six One News today.

No arrests have been made in the case, but it is understood gardai are following a definite line of inquiry.

Officers have interviewed a number of eye-witnesses as part of their investigation.

Mr Sweeney suffered a suspected broken jaw along with damage to his eye socket and his cheekbone, and he had to get stitches on his nose after the alleged assault.

President of the Irish Soccer Referees Society (ISRS) Paul O’Brien said he had been in contact with FAI CEO John Delaney over the issue.

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