A referee sent off six members of a youth soccer team during a game in Wales following a spat over the color of the players’ underpants.
The unusual incident began when the referee spotted that a player from English team Bath City was wearing white cycling shorts under the team’s red shorts. Another player was spotted wearing black undershorts.
Football Association (FA) rules state both pieces of clothing must be the same color. The rule, however, is rarely enforced.
Adding to the controversy, the two teenage players were ordered to change on the sideline in full view of the nearly 150 people in attendance – and their Welsh opponents Newport opened the scoring while they were off the field.
One of the players was even ordered to remove the underpants under his cycling shorts after the referee took exception to their color as well, and he returned to the field wearing nothing under his shorts at all.
“The referee may have been right on a technicality but I cannot believe that when that rule was made, the intended consequence was that 16 and 17-year-olds should have to change their shorts in public at the side of a pitch. That cannot be the right thing to be done at this level,” said Bath City chairman Manda Rigby.
The incident led to a number of angry exchanges throughout the FA Youth Cup match and ultimately saw the sending off of four Bath players, an unused substitute and Bath manager Billy Clark as Newport went on to win 6-0.
By Buford Balony