Lucy Clark said that she was left suicidal after she was the victim of a transphobic “ambush” during a game between Spartan’s Youth FC and Worcester Park FC, in May
Image: Steve Bainbridge)
Police are probing reports of an attack on Britain’s first transgender referee that left her suicidal and ready to quit men’s football.
Lucy Clark told how she fled the pitch after a coach and supporter both allegedly hurled transphobic abuse.
Shaken Lucy, 49, said: “It felt like an orchestrated attack. I was suicidal.
“Football’s always been my safe space. It saved my life when I struggled with hiding who I was for years, and suddenly it no longer felt safe for me.”
West London side Spartans Youth FC has been fined £80 by the FA over the incident at the club’s Brentford ground.
But the furious ref said: “It hasn’t even been recorded as transphobic abuse.
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“I’ve paid for rounds of drinks that cost more than those fines.”
The football world has been “largely accepting” since Lucy told of her transition in the Sunday Mirror three years ago. She said: “I’ve done 200 matches since and, while I get misgendered every game, there’s no malice there.
“I’ve had fans sing, ‘Are you a man or a woman?’, but I’m not sure they were aware who I was. This was different – it was orchestrated.”
Detectives are probing a match in May when Lucy was an assistant ref for Spartans’ semi-final clash with Worcester Park FC in the Surrey Elite league.
Lucy, married to Avril, 57, recalled: “This woman was shouting things like, ‘Look at it, has it got a wife, it says it’s a lesbian’.
“At one point she yelled, ‘What are you transitioning into, a f** trucker?’ Then the team’s coach called me a c* and was sent off by the main referee. I found the whole thing really threatening.”
Lucy, of Banstead, Surrey, described an “ambush” after the match, claiming the same fan came over and repeated her trucker jibe, while a third official from the side called her a “f**** man”.
She said: “It was intimidating, I sat in my car crying. The week after, I hit a real low with my mental health.
“I was there when I was a teenager coming to terms with who I was, and I never thought I’d be back in that place.”
Lucy contacted the Metropolitan Police and made a complaint to the FA.
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The Met said inquiries into a report of homophobic and transphobic abuse were ongoing, with no arrests made.
After a hearing on July 30, the FA fined Spartans over the fan’s “foul and abusive language”, Lucy says. The coach has also been fined and suspended. The third official received no sanctions.
She now aims to focus on the women’s sport, where she feels better respected.
Middlesex FA said sanctions were “in line with FA rules”. They said: “The club have made us aware of their intention to appeal. We cannot comment further.”
Spartans FC refuted Lucy’s allegations but declined to comment further.
- Lucy runs transgender helpline TRUK Listens. Visit truklistens.org