SIDNEY — All soccer fans were made to leave the stands during a Lehman game in Sidney, Thursday, Oct. 11.
A referee cleared the bleachers of fans during a girls soccer game between Lehman Catholic and Waynesville High schools. The spectators were all sent to the parking lot.
The game was Senior Night for the Lehman team.
Apparently, some fans had begun to yell obscene words. In a statement issued Friday, Lehman Athletic Director Dick Roll said that one of the officials had warned fans from both schools about the use of vulgar language. But then the yells became chants.
With about 12 minutes left in the match, Roll said, the official made the decision to clear the stands of all fans. The teams were then allowed to finish the game.
“It’s unfortunate that it happened, period, and especially on Senior Night, when family comes — some from far away — to see the seniors play for the last time on that field,” Lehman Coach Jeremy Lorenzo told the Sidney Daily News.
The newspaper was told by another source that a report of the action had been filed with the Ohio High School Athletic Association. Calls to that office and to the referee had not been returned by press time, Friday.
Greg Mintchell, the certified assigner of soccer officials who had assigned the referee to that game, could not comment on the particulars of what happened. However, he noted that “one thing a ref is looking for is the impact of fans on the players, what fans are shouting. When it affects players on the field, we have to take some sort of action,” he said.
“Sportsmanship and Christian behavior of student athletes and fans at all sports events are intrinsically important expectations of Lehman Catholic High School,” Roll said. “We apologize to the fans of both teams who were negatively impacted by these developments. We are looking into this matter and will take the actions appropriate to whatever we discover.”
Waynesville utlimately won the match, 4-1.
Reach A. Hancock at 937-538-4825.
Reach P. Speelman at 937-538-4824.