A grassroots referee was the victim of a violent assault during a football match over the weekend.

Dave Bradshaw, who is also the secretary for the under-13 age groups for the Bolton and Bury District Football League (BBDFL) as well as being on the board of referees at the Lancashire FA,was assaulted after sending a player off for the use of foul and abusive language.

Mr Bradshaw was treated in hospital for his injuries, which reportedly consisted of multiple broken ribs, a broken nose, a dislocated shoulder, a lost tooth and concussion.

The attack happened on Sunday, October 2, in a match in between Platt Field and Wigan Rose at Platt Bridge Welfare Fields, Wigan.

Police have launched an investigation.

He is now at home recovering.

Warren Barlow, chairman of the BBDFL, says there needs to be a culture change in order to protect referees.

He said: “It was a horrendous attack all because the person in question got a red card for foul and abusive language. It’s appalling.

“Unless we come down with the full weight of the law and the FA, a referee will end up dying in the country.

“We need a full cultural change. This has been happening for as long as I can remember but it’s got with Sky Sports and BT Sport.

“I’m not blaming them, by the way, but it’s open season on referees. Whenever a referee is deemed to have made a mistake there is a pile on from managers, players and pundits. It’s unrelenting and there is a knock-on effect.

Disgusting behaviour directed at Bolton's grassroots referees

“It’s an absolutely horrendous environment for grassroots referees.”

He added that he would like to see offenders and teams named and shamed, but when he has tried that tactic himself in the past, he has received fines from the FA for ‘bringing the game into disrepute’.

The game was attended by around 100 people, which has caused Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to issue an appeal for information.

Platt Bridge FC offered the following statement via their social media: “We as a club do not condone any violence towards anyone in the football community.

“We are ashamed of what has happened today, and the player is no longer playing with our team going forward.

“We as a team hope we can build our reputation back to what we have worked so hard for.”

A spokesperson for GMP said: “Police were made aware at 17.52 hours on Sunday October 2, 2022, of a serious assault that had taken place during the Platt Bridge v Wigan Rose Remembrance Cup game held earlier in the day at football pitches in Platt Bridge.

“As a result, a referee sustained significant injuries which resulted in him needing hospital treatment.

“As over 100 people attended the game, officers are asking anyone with any information, including mobile phone footage, to contact them. This can be done via gmp.police.uk, 101 or 0161 856 7094, quoting reference number 2490-021022.

“Crimestoppers – the independent charity – can also be contacted on 0800 555 111 and in emergency, dial 999.”

The FA, in collaboration with the Lancashire FA, has provided the following statement: “We are aware of incidents of assault on a match official and a player during matched played this weekend in Lancashire.

“We have been very clear that all forms of anti-social behaviour, abuse and assaults on match officials and participants are completely unacceptable, and we will not tolerate this in the game.

“We are investigating the incident as a matter of urgency, working with the Lancashire FA who are liaising with the police and supporting the match official and player affected.”

The player mentioned in the statement was from an unconnected incident.

If you have a story or something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at lewis.finney@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on Twitter @lewisfinney18