Referee Martin Bullock issues an apology after failing to apply the Laws of the Game correctly

Thursday 10th June 2021

A football referee has issued an apology on his Twitter account for trying to show leniency during an Academy football match between Dartford and Dover Athletic last night.

Mike Sandmann’s Dover Athletic side beat hosts Dartford 2-1 to claim the Kent Academies Cup, a competition involving eight teams, created after the league campaign was postponed due to Covid-19.

It is very rare for a match official to issue an apology in public but that is what referee Martin Bullock has done, apologising to Dartford Academy manager Ben Greenhalgh following an incident during the game.

Bullock said: “A public apology to Ben Greenhalgh and Dartford.  I failed to apply the Laws of the Game correctly and this cost the team and affected the game negatively. A huge error of judgement where I tried to show leniency when I should have sent a player off.

“Disappointed with myself and for the team.  Don’t know what else to say. I am truly sorry.”

Greenhalgh replied to the message, saying, “Martin, we all make mistakes but the best people/referees are the ones that can admit they might be wrong.

“It was still a great night for our boys to play in front of a crowd. Let’s keep moving in the right direction and put any decisions behind us.  Good luck in your next game.”

Rolando Onu and Alex Green scored for Dover Athletic after Dartford took the lead. The game was played on the community pitch at Princes Park Stadium in front of spectators.

This situation proves that match referee’s should be involved in post-match press conferences where they can explain their decisions over key incidents during the game.