Teenage footballer with Tourette's banned...for swearing at the refereeMasons

Footballers are often warned about using fruity language, but in 14-year-old Owen Thompson's case, he can't help himself.

For he suffers with Tourette's Syndrome which makes him prone to sudden outbursts of obscene language. And it cost him a ban from playing football – after he swore at the referee!

Goalkeeper Owen objected to the ref's decision to allow a goal that cost his team the match and told him to 'f*** off'. His foul language was reported to his local FA and he was slapped with a two-game suspension and a £25 fine for foul and abusive language on the pitch.

The punishment was imposed on him despite the young footballer holding a medical card for Tourette's. His condition is so severe he sometimes shouts 'chavs' at gangs of older men.

His mum Melanie Burgess, 37, from Stansted Abbotts, Hertfordshire, told the local paper: "After the game the referee went over to Owen's manager. He showed the referee the medical card that shows Owen has Tourette's syndrome.

"But last week we learnt he has been given a two-match ban and a £25 fine. It's ridiculous. Football is a really important part of his life."

Owen's boss, Ware Youth under-15s manager Alistair West, said: "You can't ban a Tourette's sufferer for swearing.

"I always show the other manager his card and tell the other parents. And every single parent and manager has been fantastic - we've not had one complaint.

"It's frustrating because he's a really good kid."

Hertfordshire FA chief executive Nick Perchard said: "The player swore at the referee twice and then walked away and refused to talk to the referee when asked to explain his actions.

"After the match, the referee reported the incident to us and the player was charged with improper conduct.

"The committee took the player's condition into account and the one-match suspension imposed was in regards to the playing refusing to return to the field of play to discuss why he had sworn at the referee.

"The committee decided that the lack of respect shown to the match official was not connected to his medical condition.

"This has been a highly unusual case, but Hertfordshire FA remains committed to helping as many players as possible enjoy the game regardless of ability or ongoing medical issues."

Hertfordshire FA has now reduced Owen's punishment to a one-match ban and a £15 fine.