Statement: Karl Smith
Statement regarding Karl Smith
Norwich Crown Court today completed the sentencing of local footballer Aaron Wick for wounding and inflicting grievous bodily harm on Norfolk Referee Karl Smith in a Central & South Norfolk League fixture between Feltwell United and Horsford United Reserves.
The goalkeeper, having already received a lifetime ban from all football via a Norfolk FA disciplinary hearing, has been sentenced to 20 months in prison for the attack which left Karl unconscious, hospitalised, and with life changing injuries.
This news marks the culmination of proceedings that have been ongoing for several months in which Norfolk FA staff and the wider Norfolk Football community have supported Karl in getting back on his feet and back into football.
We are delighted that Karl has shown tremendous courage meaning that he has been able to resume his refereeing career, has received a promotion ahead of the 2019-20 season, and more recently has been announced as Norfolk’s Match Official of the Year in The FA & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards.
Fortunately, incidents of this nature are extremely rare, but we hope that this shocking offence will act as a serious reminder to all those involved in grassroots football of the importance of ensuring that their conduct towards match officials is respectful at all times; and we hope that Karl can now try to put the incident behind him and move on with his life.