Reece Thompson signing for Selby Town ‘misjudged’, says manager

Reece Thompson signing for Selby Town ‘misjudged’, says manager
Published

image copyrightPA Media

image captionReece Thompson was convicted of assault and grievous bodily harm in 2019

A football manager has apologised for his club’s plan to sign a player convicted of domestic violence, saying the decision was “severely misjudged”.

Selby Town FC intended to sign Reece Thompson but cancelled the deal after a club sponsor withdrew its support.

Thompson was convicted in April 2019 of assault and grievous bodily harm after beating up his girlfriend.

Manager Christian Fox said: “Thinking of giving someone like that an opportunity was misplaced.”

In

a statement on the club website, Mr Fox said the matter had “dragged up horrible memories for individuals and families who suffer from domestic abuse” and said the club “offer our unreserved apologies” to Thompson’s victim and her family.

Thompson, who lived in Doncaster at the time, was jailed for three years and four months and given a restraining order lasting 10 years, but was released from prison early.

In August he joined Selby Town, who play in the 10th tier of English football as a member of the Northern Counties East League Division One, on trial, prompting criticism from fans who said his signing would send the wrong message to abuse victims.

The club apologised at the time but later said he had “served his sentence” and could sign for them.

However, it backtracked following sponsor Reeds Rains’ announcement and confirmation from the Ministry of Justice that the player was still on licence.

Mr Fox said the club should have realised its error after the first incident and “to think about it twice was extremely insensitive”.

He said the club would be writing to the victim privately to “try and offer her some comfort”.

He added: “I know words will never be enough but believe me when I say how sorry we are with the upset we have caused so many. We are not trying to make excuses or cover anything up.

“I hope once again Selby Town FC will be able to regain trust and rebuild its standing in the community.”

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