Local footballer receives 16-month ban for 'doing a Di Canio'

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio celebrates after Stephane Sessegnon scores his side's first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 14, 2013. See

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio celebrates after Stephane Sessegnon scores his side's first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 14, 2013. See

First published in Sport

A NEWPORT footballer has been banned for 16 months for ‘doing a Paolo Di Canio,’ the Argus can reveal.

Rhys Cox, 27, who has played his whole career with Lliswerry, won’t be eligible to compete with his teammates again until May 31, 2015 after ‘manhandling’ a referee, just as Di Canio famously did in 1998 when he sent Paul Alcock tumbling while playing for Sheffield Wednesday.

Defender Cox, who is described in Lliswerry’s pen pics as “a no nonsense centre half who is a key player in the heart of the defence, who wears his heart on his sleeve every game,” was found guilty by an FAW disciplinary panel of assaulting a match referee.

The red card furore, which led to the Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division Three clash with Treowen Stars at Spytty Park being abandoned on 82 minutes with the scores at 2-2, has caused a storm in the Welsh League.

The incident, which happened on December 29, 2013, was reported at the time in the Argus as a double-handed push on match official Sean Hicks, from Cardiff.

A host of Lliswerry players were forced to intervene and separate Cox from the referee after the referee had sent off Cox for a second yellow card offence.

Cox also didn’t leave the pitch promptly after the incident, which lead to him being cautioned by the police and referee Hicks locking himself in his dressing room after abandoning the contest.

The Football Association of Wales told the Argus at the time of the offence that no punishment would be forthcoming until they received a copy of Mr Hicks’ report from the game.

However, after a hearing, Cox has been hit with a ban that effectively rules him out of this campaign and the next one. And an FAW spokesman told the Argus that Cox hasn’t even received the maximum punishment for the offence. Nor was his case prejudiced by the fact he received suspensions in September (three games) and November (four games) in 2013.

“The maximum suspension for assaulting a match official is two years and that length has been handed out before,” the Argus was told.

“An assault on a referee is something we treat very seriously and the length of ban reflects that.

“However, the punishment is based solely on this one incident. We did not take into mitigation any previous disciplinary offences as it was appropriate to judge this incident without any prejudice.”

Lliswerry AFC defended their man but admitted they have no objection with the findings of the FAW.

“Rhys is disappointed, it was a heat of the moment incident and he knows it shouldn’t have happened,” Lliswerry committee member Haydn Notley explained.

“He’s very much a one-club man, he is still watching us play games even since his suspension started and he will be more frustrated than anyone.

“He’s sorry for what he has done and we are sorry to be without him, but we 100% accept the verdict of the FAW.”

Comments (6)

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10:00am Tue 21 Jan 14

Thomas O'Malley says...

'Heat of the moment' in December...after already being suspended in September and November. There are too many of these thugs using local football as a platform to inflict their violence on society and they often get away with it.
'Heat of the moment' in December...after already being suspended in September and November. There are too many of these thugs using local football as a platform to inflict their violence on society and they often get away with it. Thomas O'Malley
  • Score: 14

8:52pm Tue 21 Jan 14

_raeofsunshine_ says...

He is not a thug. The incident was a heat of the moment reaction which he deeply regrets and he has accepted his punishment. To dismiss him as a thug is incorrect and very unfair.
He is not a thug. The incident was a heat of the moment reaction which he deeply regrets and he has accepted his punishment. To dismiss him as a thug is incorrect and very unfair. _raeofsunshine_
  • Score: -16

1:43am Wed 22 Jan 14

County says...

Would've been a more interesting story had he done a fascist salute.
Would've been a more interesting story had he done a fascist salute. County
  • Score: 0

6:52am Wed 22 Jan 14

ollie72 says...

What muppets like this seem to forget is that without a ref there is no game - and what ref would want to take control of a game he's playing?

reminds me of a game of rugby I played in cwmbran a few years back - the opposition 2nd row was sent off, and then threatened to wait for the ref in the car park.

The game was stopped, the team captain and the committee men escorted the player to his car, his clothes were passed to him, and he was thrown out of the club - because the club knew that if they hadn't done that, the club would have been kicked out of the league.

In contrast, Lliswerry are still defending his actions as "heat of the moment", and seem proud of the fact that he "wears his heart on his sleeve", which means he basically likes to throw himself about and whinge when he gets caught for it...
What muppets like this seem to forget is that without a ref there is no game - and what ref would want to take control of a game he's playing? reminds me of a game of rugby I played in cwmbran a few years back - the opposition 2nd row was sent off, and then threatened to wait for the ref in the car park. The game was stopped, the team captain and the committee men escorted the player to his car, his clothes were passed to him, and he was thrown out of the club - because the club knew that if they hadn't done that, the club would have been kicked out of the league. In contrast, Lliswerry are still defending his actions as "heat of the moment", and seem proud of the fact that he "wears his heart on his sleeve", which means he basically likes to throw himself about and whinge when he gets caught for it... ollie72
  • Score: 7

12:15pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Casnewydd lad says...

8:52pm Tue 21 Jan 14
_raeofsunshine_ says...

He is not a thug. The incident was a heat of the moment reaction which he deeply regrets and he has accepted his punishment. To dismiss him as a thug is incorrect and very unfair.
He isn't a thug? What happened in November, and September before the incident in December? Heat of the moment to?
8:52pm Tue 21 Jan 14 _raeofsunshine_ says... He is not a thug. The incident was a heat of the moment reaction which he deeply regrets and he has accepted his punishment. To dismiss him as a thug is incorrect and very unfair. He isn't a thug? What happened in November, and September before the incident in December? Heat of the moment to? Casnewydd lad
  • Score: 4

6:01pm Thu 23 Jan 14

countyjim says...

_raeofsunshine_ wrote:
He is not a thug. The incident was a heat of the moment reaction which he deeply regrets and he has accepted his punishment. To dismiss him as a thug is incorrect and very unfair.
Oh so this player hasnt got form with Refs then, I know one who was chased round Ringland park by him in Gwent County league

Lliswerry should have done decent thing and chucked him out
[quote][p][bold]_raeofsunshine_[/bold] wrote: He is not a thug. The incident was a heat of the moment reaction which he deeply regrets and he has accepted his punishment. To dismiss him as a thug is incorrect and very unfair.[/p][/quote]Oh so this player hasnt got form with Refs then, I know one who was chased round Ringland park by him in Gwent County league Lliswerry should have done decent thing and chucked him out countyjim
  • Score: 2

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