A REFEREE has urged players to respect officials after he was barricaded into a changing rooms by an angry footballer he sent off.

Incensed at receiving a second yellow card, Ronnie Devereux shouted abuse at Hampshire FA referee Russell Hack during a Junior 3 game between Braishfield Reserves and Park Phoenix First at Braishfield recreation ground.

As the game ended and Devereux saw his Park Phoenix team lose 2-1, the 23-year-old came over to Mr Hack and tried to grab his pocket book, in which the ref had written all the events from the match.

Devereux was unable to get the notepad so followed Mr Hack back to changing room, leaving Mr Hack to force shut the door as the footballer tried to get in.

And after Devereux received a suspended jail sentence after a trial at Southampton Magistrates’ Court for assault, Mr Hack says he wants other players to respect the referee as he lines up for the upcoming season.

Mr Hack, who has been refereeing for eight years, said: “It’s not acceptable that referees are treated in this manner but I am glad the matter has now been settled.

“I hope his conviction sets a precedent and that it shows that what happens at a football ground is not above the law.

“It’s an unfortunate aspect of the game that people do swear and show a lack of respect for officials.

“But his actions that day went above and beyond what is acceptable.

“I was fearful for my safety and my family’s safety.”

He added: “Hopefully this will stop more people doing the same thing because we all love the game and it needs to be stopped.”

At the hearing, the court heard Devereux made further attempts to get into Mr Hack’s changing room.

When he couldn’t get in Mr Hack could hear the door was being kicked from the outside and felt the door bouncing with each blow.

He then heard a dull blow to the window of the door which Mr Hack believes was the same person punching the glass of the window with significant force.

The referee could hear players trying to remove Devereux from the other side of the door and after around 15 minutes someone came to the door and said he had gone.

Devereux, of Alder Hill, Totton, was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a requirement to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

A two-year restraining order was also made to protect Mr Hack.