Apr
20
2007
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danger, criticism and hostility

Referees are long-suffering mortals. Being constantly exposed to danger, criticism and hostility, they sometimes lose their composure. German sports magazine “Kicker” recently published a number of extraordinary incidents involving referees, some of which proved to be tragic. In South Africa’s provincial Kenton-on-Sea, a referee drew out a gun and shot the away team’s coach, whom he felt was threatening him after accusing him of making the wrong decision. In Moldova, AC Roso Floreni’s president decided that the referee was not officiating the match agains AC Politechnica Chisinau to his liking. Suspecting a conspiracy, the president jumped into his jeep and chased the referee around the pitch in his 4-wheel drive, whereupon the referee abandoned the match. The ballboys at the match between Real Betis and Atletico Madrid also thought they were being bullied. The referee showed eight of them the red card and the 10- to 12-year-olds left the stadium in tears. The referee claimed that the ballboys had deliberately tried to delay play after the home team had taken the lead. The Belgian referee of a Young Start Eeklo v. Zelzate game was equally annoyed when a would-be fan rushed onto the pitch and pulled the referee’s shorts and pants down. In the Netherlands, a referee caused the crowd to burst out laughing and shake their heads during a Twente Enschede v. Feyenoord match. After a controversial penalty that resulted in a goal for Feyenoord, the beaten goalkeeper handed the ball to the referee with the words: “This is your ball; it’s obviously also your game.” The referee reacted by sticking his tongue out – not once, but seven times!