A FOOTBALLER has been handed a five-year ban after shoving a referee during a game.

Danny Hicks was landed with the hefty suspension from the Herefordshire Football Association after being landed with a charge for assault.

The incident happened near the end of Woofferton’s HFL Division 1 match against Ewyas Harold Reserves on January 10, which finished 1-1.

It is believed Hicks was about to be shown a yellow card by referee Stuart Buchanan when he pushed him.

HFA chief executive Jim Lambert said Hicks then grabbed Buchanan and shoved him over after Buchanan was speaking to Woofferton’s captain.

His ban stretches from January 12, 2015 until January 10, 2020 – a total of 1,825 days.

“Once you place you hands on a referee it is dealt with very seriously,” said Lambert.

“It proves the robustness of the HFA system.

“Ninety nine times out of 100 there is never a problem in matches, but when somebody decides to grab a referee, you have got to deal with it.

“We have to support referees.”

Lambert added that Buchanan has moved on from the incident and has refereed since.

Woofferton secretary Dave Thomas said Hicks pleaded guilty and no appeal will be made, while Hicks did not want to comment on the suspension when contacted by the Hereford Times.

Meanwhile, Rob Smith was sent off for Woofferton during last Saturday's game against Ledbury Town Reserves' – the Blue's third dismissal in three games.

Ledbury won the match 3-2 thanks to two goals from Dan Herbert and one from Jamie Welch; Dean Harding and Dan Gower struck for Woofferton.