Scottish Football Ref Expelled For Speaking Out On Homophobic Abuse

Joe Richardson

29-year-old Joe Richardson has been officiating soccer games for over 12 years, but his experience earned him no respect at a game in Perthshire. During the match a player was suspended for violent conduct, which earned some slurs directed at Richardson. Later in the match, multiple players began hurling slurs, with one in particular approaching Richardson's boyfriend, 24-year-old Jack Nicholson, and telling him, "I hope you’re proud of your boyfriend, I’ll punch your f***ing teeth in."

Richardson reported the threats to the police and the Angus and Perthshire Referees Association, the latter of whom offered no support, telling Richardson that it was a criminal matter and he'd have to take care of it himself. Richardson spoke out on Facebook about the lack of support from the Association; the Association in turn expelled Richardson from the organization.

Richardson has appealed to the Scottish Football Association, and the police are investigating his criminal complaint. 


  1. northalabama says

    will some never learn that facebook is not the “go to” place to resolve differences? shaming should not have been his kneejerk response.

    continue traditional means until all paths are exhausted, then go to social media. he deserved what he got.

  2. Coemgenus says

    It’ll work its way through the hierarchies and then the Association will be made to look foolish. Again. Every employee / volunteer is entitled to work in a safe environment and the law protects that. Threats are threats.

    This isn’t the USA, employees have rights.

  3. jjose712 says

    northalabama: Your reading comprehension must be damage because he complaint to organization, and they refuse to do anything at all.

    Frankly, going to the police for insults is a bit too much, it’s the association the one that has to act to avoid this kind of situations

  4. northalabama says

    jjose712: my reading comprehension is just fine. my understanding of following established procedures, before resorting to social media, is ok, too.

    whoever took his complaint reports to someone else. there are other organizations and individuals who could also intervene on his behalf. one thing is for sure – once he aired the dirty laundry on facebook, he should have expected what he got.

  5. jjose712 says

    northalabama: Why? he told the truth, that he was insulted and the organization that has the obligation to defend him didn’t do anything.
    You can’t terminate a job relationship based on that. If they don’t want to be shamed, better do their job instead of putting their heads in the sand

  6. northalabama says

    jjose712: i’m not saying there isn’t a place for public shaming, just that other methods weren’t exhausted first.

    it may or may not have been the right decision once all the evidence is in, but i think they proved they can terminate a job relationship based on that – they fired him. if you still don’t know why, try it yourself, but i advise against it.

  7. ratbastard says


    As far as a “safe’ environment and physical threats, you obviously don’t understand the complexities of American [English Common Law based] functions. Under such circumstances you’d have many legal options in the U.S., including federal law, state laws and local regulations. Not to mention lawsuits. In the U.S., Mr. Richardson could end up owning that league in addition to becoming a wealthy man.