Deaf player sent off for “ignoring” whistle he couldn’t hear
By Kirsty Topping
A DEAF football player was sent off during a cup tie because he could not hear the whistle.
Philip John Dolan, who plays for both the Great Britain and Scottish deaf football teams, was playing in a replay of a Scottish Junior Cup tie with a non-deaf team when the referee ruled him offside.
Unable to hear the match official’s whistle the 24-year-old, who is known as PJ, continued playing and was given a yellow card for apparently ignoring the signal at the game in Broxburn, West Lothian.
Mr Dolan only noticed he had been given the penalty after putting the ball past the goal keeper and turning to celebrate.
Despite protests that he was unable to hear the whistle, referee Gavin Duncan insisted the decision stood.
And when Mr Dolan was given a second yellow card for allegedly diving just moments later he was slapped with a red card and an automatic two match ban.
Mr Dolan’s father said Mr Duncan had been made aware of his son’s disability before the original match between Armadale and Kilsyth.
Mr Dolan, 64, said: “The whistle went and Philip carried on. The linesman put the flag up but he didn’t see it and he kept going and scored the goal but he was offside.
“He is profoundly deaf and usually plays further back in right midfield, where he can see what’s going on but on this occasion he was brought on as a sub and was playing up front for the centre forward.
“Before he got his first yellow card, it was explained to the ref why he hadn’t stopped playing but the ref obviously didn’t care and gave him it anyway. Everybody was raging.”
Mr Dolan, who lives in Chryston, North Lanarkshire said the Kilsyth player had been left “upset” by the Hogmanay incident.
He added: “He’s a good player but would be an even better player if he wasn’t deaf. All he loves in life is football. I was upset by what happened at that game and so was he.
“He will be suspended now for about two games so that’s making him worse.”
He said the manager of PJ’s team, Eric Sinclair, always made sure referees were aware that PJ was deaf.
It is understood that Mr Sinclair had warned Mr Duncan, who is thought to be part of the SFA Referees Edinburgh and District, about Mr Dolan’s deafness during the original tie four weeks ago.
He said he had not mentioned it again before the game on December 31, which Kilsyth won 2-0, as he thought he would remember.
In games between hearing-impaired players the referee rarely uses a whistle, instead they use a bright flag to catch players’ attention.
It is not known whether the club will appeal the decision but the SFA declined to comment.
Referee Mr Duncan could not be contacted for comment.
The offside law is one of the 17 laws of football.
A player is offside if they are in front of the ball when there is only one opposing team member between them and the goal while the ball is in the oppositions half.
However they are only judged to be committing an offside offence if they touch the ball or obstruct their opponent.
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