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Youth coach fined and banned after standing up to homophobic abuse

Youth coach fined and banned after standing up to homophobic abuse
Darren Wildman’s U18s side decided not to continue with a match after one of their players was subjected to homophobic abuse

Skelmersdale United academy manager Darren Wildman has been fined and banned from the touchline after his U18s side decided not to continue a match following one of their players being homophobically abused.

During a pre-season match in July, one of Wildman’s players was allegedly subjected to abuse just before half-time. The matter was immediately raised with the referee and the match was temporarily halted. After further discussions and a players’ meeting, Skelmersdale chose not to continue playing.

Following the match, Wildman was charged with causing the abandonment of the game by the Liverpool County FA and said the disciplinary measures had left him “gobsmacked and unbelievably disappointed”. He plans to appeal the decision.

“I was made to feel I was in the wrong for taking the players off and that the game could have continued,” Wildman told Sky Sports. “The disciplinary process seemed to centre more around who actually took the decision to cancel the game and not the reasoning behind it.

“It’s really affected my mental healthI’ve been in and around the game for 30 years as a player and a coach but now I am considering whether I want to continue after this season or not. I don’t think it’s in my best interests to continue because both the County FA and FA in general have offered absolutely zero support over the past five months to myself, the player concerned or to the club as a whole.

“I’m just gobsmacked and unbelievably disappointed that both continually push out a mantra that they are tackling homophobia but when someone does actually stand up against it they are punished for doing so.”

Liverpool County FA released a statement in response, dizendo: “Liverpool County FA is committed to tackling abuse and discriminatory behaviour and strongly condemns any actions of this nature. All reported allegations are investigated in accordance with The FA’s Rules & Regulations as well as the relevant authorities. As part of that process, we are not in a position to comment on individual cases which are ongoing, or subject to appeal.”