I was Mr PC that day, says coach
The coach accused of threatening to kill a junior football referee "strongly" denies the allegation, but admits being involved in two confrontations during the game.
Supporters directed "mild bantering" at the volunteer referee, but coach Jan Chmielewski insists he was not abusive and maintains he was "Mr PC that day".
He admitted being involved in a standoff with referee David Adams and calling a woman at the game a "moaning bitch".
"When I was two inches away from his [Mr Adams'] face, I was telling him he was f...ing me off."
Tensions boiled over after a goal was disallowed during the 11th-grade game, featuring 10 and 11-year-olds, between Island Bay United and Waterside Karori at Wellington's Sinclair Park on May 12.
Children were left crying and Mr Adams said he abandoned the game after Mr Chmielewski threatened to kill him.
Yesterday, Mr Chmielewski said: "The whole thing is a farce and it's been blown way out of proportion. I never abused him once.
"I never threatened to kill him at all. It is a lie. I strongly deny this. This is humiliating for me and never happened."
The incident has prompted an internal club investigation, and Capital Football Federation, the body governing the game in Wellington, wants answers after being alerted by The Dominion Post.
Mr Adams and Rachel McMaster, whose son plays for Waterside Karori, both believe Mr Chmielewski should be banned from coaching.
Mr Chmielewski, an Island Bay United coach, initially denied knowledge of the incident on Friday, but admitted yesterday that he was the man at the centre of the allegations.
Throughout the second half, Island Bay United supporters "mildly bantered" Mr Adams while trying to recreate a "Yellow Fever-type atmosphere", Mr Chmielewski said, referring to the Wellington Phoenix fan club.
"He couldn't take any criticism. I mean, what kind of referee doesn't have a thick skin?"
He said he was frustrated that Mr Adams kept approaching Island Bay United supporters to ask them to stop abusing him.
"Tackles were being made behind his back while he was talking to parents – it's not acceptable. I kept asking him nicely, `Please, referee, concentrate on the children.'
"He was basically allowing his players to attack ours and assault ours.
"I was Mr PC that day. Why am I being persecuted over some idiot's inability to run a game? He was compromising my child's safety." At the end of the game, Mr Adams shook his hand, he said.
"If I just told you I was going to kill you, would you offer me your hand?"
Mr Chmielewski said he would step aside from his coaching role if any Island Bay United parent was "concerned in trusting their child in my care".
Mr Adams said yesterday he shook hands with Mr Chmielewski to try to defuse the situation and to discuss the lack of nets at the ground.
Capital Football Federation chief executive Richard Reid said the clubs had been told to provide the federation with information about the incident by the end of today.
He declined to comment further.
- The Dominion Post
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