By Colin Udoh:
Referee Gabriel Adigwe and his assistants were violently assaulted by fans of Niger Tornadoes after their 0-0 home draw against Bayelsa United and the referee has told KickOffNigeria.com that he fears he has been ‘psychologically damaged’.
According to Adigwe, the fans invaded the pitch after the game and set upon the officials, with no protection from the police.
“Immediately after the final whistle, fans rushed into the field and attacked us. There were policemen around but they were not effective. I was viciously punched a number of times on the back of my neck, close to my ears.
“I almost collapsed, but I was afraid that if I fell down, they would trample me. My hands are swollen from trying to cover my face from the blows.
“The AR2 was also punched twice in his back and stomach,” Adigwe said.
When the police finally decided to intervene, it was only a feeble effort.
“After the police fired tear gas, they fled and started throwing stones at us. It met one person on the head. He was seriously bleeding; the blood gushed out of his head and poured on my shirt.”
The officials finally found their way into the dressing room, but had to wait there for nearly another hour before they could leave the stadium.
“We waited for about 40 minutes in the dressing room before we left the stadium.
“The fans said they have to beat me up to teach me a lesson because I don’t help them in their home games. They say that every time I come to their home games, they always play draw. I am seriously damaged psychologically and I don’t know if I can do any match after this without the fear of being beaten again.”
Over the past two seasons, Adigwe has handled three other Tornadoes home games. They drew 0-0 against Zamfara United and beat Warri Wolves 2-0 last season.
This season, they have drawn at home against Ranchers Bees with Adigwe at the centre before this weekend’s result against Bayelsa United.
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