We want to hear your stories about youth football violence

Ryan Crisp has been a fox in the box of late for Dereham.

Ryan Crisp has been a fox in the box of late for Dereham. - Credit: Archant

Violence by spectators at children's football games could lead to someone being killed, parents have been warned.

The chairman of the Surrey Youth League has written to its clubs to warn against the rising pattern of abusive behaviour at its matches.

On one weekend of matches in the county, a parent threatened to stab a referee, another headbutted a volunteer linesman and young players threatened the vandalise a changing room, according to the Times.

In an email seen by the paper, Graham Ekins said he feared for the lives of match officials, citing the death of a linesman at a junior match in the Netherlands in 2013.

He said: 'Would you want your name associated with a children's competition that resulted in the death of someone as a consequence of violence?

'Don't believe it wouldn't happen. It did to a linesman at a children's match in the Netherlands three or four years ago. If this continues I fear that this may be the result here.

'This cannot continue. You as clubs and all people involved in trying to voluntarily run children's football needed to take back control from thugs and idiots that are doing a great job of spoiling Sunday mornings for children and then occupying league officers' time for the rest of the week while we clear the mess up.'

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He added clubs and people who commit violence should be 'ashamed' and suggested the league could withdraw all referees if the problem persisted.

The Surrey Youth League runs competitions for children aged from six up to under 18. Referees are paid between £15 and £30 per match.

•Have you witnessed violence at youth football matches in East Anglia? Is it a problem or is behaviour generally good at games? You can leave your comments below or email tom.bristow@archant.co.uk

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