CARRIGALINE United has defended its reputation after the Cork Branch of the Irish Soccer Referees’ Society distributed a directive that said members cannot officiate games at Ballea Park.
This was announced in a statement by the governing body after a referee called off a recent match in the club's home pitch due to being verbally abused and threatened. It is under investigation by the Gardaí, who have confirmed they are looking into a public order incident that occurred on February 25 at Ballea Park.
Carrigaline United issued a notice to members saying that CCTV footage exists of the incident and it creates discrepancies with the Cork Branch of the ISRS' views. They will also work with all relevant parties to help the investigation.
The club said: “Firstly, it should be noted that we as a club have nothing but respect for all individuals who chose to pick up a whistle and support any initiative to eradicate the needless and mindless abuse of referees.
"CUAFC has been commended on countless occasions by visiting officials, dignitaries and opposition.
"We were shocked, appalled and disappointed by recent developments and, in our opinion, the unfair portrayal of the club across social media, radio and digital/print media. As a club we respect due process and made a conscious decision to respect this process up until now.
"Unfortunately, however, with the reputation of the club being dragged into disrepute in such an ignominious manner we as a club are left with no alternative but to issue this statement.
"Having examined the CCTV video evidence (which will of course be made available to view onsite by representatives of the ISRS, governing bodies, and the media) we as a club are satisfied that there are very significant discrepancies between the statement posted by the Cork Branch of the ISRS and the video evidence.
"Rest assured everyone on the Management Committee of Carrigaline United AFC is committed to defending our club's good name and to restoring football to Ballea Park as quickly as possible."
The FAI also made a comment about this incident on Friday afternoon: “The FAI is aware of the decision taken by the Cork branch of the Irish Referees Society and will investigate further before deciding on any next steps. The FAI engages in a zero tolerance policy towards any abuse of match officials.”