Dismissed footballer returned to pitch to shoot referee dead

No player likes being sent off, and red card situations can occasionally become tense stand-offs between referees and footballers.

However, 48 year-old Argentine referee César Flores could not have expected that the dismissal of a player on Sunday would have been one of the last acts of his life.

Police in the Córdoba province of the country are hunting for the amateur footballer who responded angrily to being sent off for a foul. According to reports, he left the pitch but soon returned with a revolver, shooting Flores three times in the head, neck and chest.

25 year-old player Walter Zárate was also caught up in the assault, although it is believed that his injuries are not life-threatening.

According to local police, “it all happened during the match. We don’t know what happened with the referee but the player was angry, went to get his gun and killed him.”

Footballer made to referee girls’ football match after sexist remark

A German footballer was forced to officiate a girls’ football match by his own club after making a sexist remark to a female referee.

It may seem like an unusual punishment, but that is exactly what Kerem Demirbay of 2. Bundesliga team Fortuna Düsseldorf was ordered to do for making the inappropriate comment.

22 year-old Demirbay was shown a second yellow card by female referee Bibiana Steinhaus after scoring both goals in his side’s 2-1 victory against FSV Frankfurt on 29 November. In frustration, he fumed that women have no place in men’s football.

The Deutscher Fußball-Bund (the German football association) is still deciding on an appropriate sanction for the remark, but Fortuna Düsseldorf wasted no time in levying a fine before coming up with the additional punishment.

Yesterday the club posted five photographs to their Facebook page of Demirbay refereeing a girls’ youth league fixture between Haan 06 and Langenfeld. It was accompanied by the caption “this is what happens when young players make mistakes”.

The midfielder apologised for his remark on Facebook, saying “I am extremely sorry for having said what I did to Ms Steinhaus. I should never have said this sentence and it does not reflect my image of women.”

Steinhaus, the first female referee in German professional football, is reported to have accepted a private apology from Demirbay.

4 games for 4-letter words

Speaking as a Barça fan, it is frustrating that Gerard Piqué has been banned for four matches. As a referee, is four games long enough?

Barcelona star defender Gerard Piqué was everywhere on Monday night: shielding the Barça goal, attacking the Athletic goal and, it seems, insulting the assistant referee.

Referee Velasco Carballo noted in his report that Piqué said to the man on the line “me cago en tu puta madre” (roughly translated as “I s**t in your f*****g mother”), after he felt the assistant had missed a clear offside.

The referee's report

The referee’s report

Piqué has admitted confronting the assistant referee and apologised for doing so, but denies using the words that Carballo has attributed to him. He said on Twitter:

I want to apologise because the attitude with which I protested was not the correct one.

However, at no point did I direct any insult towards the assistant referee.

FC Barcelona are appealing the ban.

Discussing the matter on a referee forum on Facebook, the consensus seems to be that the assistant made the right call, although it was a difficult decision to make given the speed of the game.

There are also questions about the length of the ban, specifically: is it long enough? If someone at work came up to you and started verbally abusing you, which is essentially the case here, would you expect them to receive a longer suspension than 360 minutes?

The length of the ban may be seen by some as an acceptance of abuse towards referees as a part of the game; uncomfortable, but normal. That is not the way we should view these acts.

If Piqué did use the words attributed to him, then he should have received a longer suspension or a deep fine. Even if he didn’t, his actions were unacceptable and the ban should stand, but with a reasonable fine. Obviously, this is subject to the league’s own rules, of which I am, in this case, unaware.

Referees do a difficult job, but they are only human. They make mistakes, but without them games would not go ahead. The abuse of referees is not acceptable, for any reason and in any form, and anyone who does abuse them should face – and accept – the consequences of their actions.

It’s all about respect

Being a referee is not easy: you have players, managers and spectators all vocally disagreeing with every decision you make against their team, even when it may be the right decision.

Ok, so I may only be a level 9 (trainee), and may have officiated in only three matches so far (two Sunday league and one youth league), but I’m sure it won’t be a stretch of any proportions for you to believe that, in the space of just 250 minutes (the youth game was 35 minutes each half), I have heard almost every expletive-ridden insult known to mankind (including some rather inventive phrases which I, in all my worldly experience, had never heard of before) – though I should point out that almost none of this took place at the youth match, where the players, coaches and spectators were all very well behaved.

Here’s the thing: referees are only human. Humans make mistakes. We all do. Some are silly mistakes which are of little importance in the grand scheme of things, like not giving a penalty (sorry, Sheffield United fans, but it’s only a game of football – life goes on!), some are more serious and can have a major effect on someone’s job or life, especially if they escalate quickly.

It may only be a game of football, but as a referee, you are expected to be almost superhuman. You are expected to be able to see all 22 players plus your two assistants at all times. You are expected to see every kick of the ball and every incident and hear every word that comes out of every player and manager’s mouth. And yet, with only two eyes and two ears that simply does not happen.

Instead, as a referee you do your best, despite the calls from players and chants from spectators (especially if you are at the higher levels). Yes you’re going to miss things every so often and yes you might give a wrong call every so often, but as long as you keep moving and keep your eye on the play as much as you physically can, then, overall, you will be viewed as a good referee and respected.

Since passing the Basic Referees Course, I have taken to mentally evaluating the referees at Priestfield as much as the players, and seeing things from their perspective has been enlightening.

For example, in last Saturday’s match against Scunthorpe, referee Peter Bankes dismissed Gills captain Doug Loft for a challenge against Luke O’Neill. Cue cries from the Rainham End of “the referee’s a-” well, you get the idea. However, on defending Bankes on Twitter (Loft jumped at O’Neill, which is an instant dismissal), I was heartened to see a majority of like minded assessments. Such a shame, then, that whilst the majority of fans found themselves agreeing with the decision, there was still a barrage of abuse coming from the stands.

Of course, to referee at any level, your shoulders need to be broader than the Thames Estuary. However, it continues to be a blight on the game that referees of all levels can be on the receiving end of any kind of abuse, which is why I am signed up to – and fully and wholeheartedly support – the FA’s respect programme.

For those of you who are not aware, the respect programme was introduced in 2008 to try and kick out the abuse, the parents interfering when all little Johnny wants to do is play football, protect children from some pretty sickening uses of the English language and, ultimately, make the game more enjoyable for players, referees and spectators alike. Please do take a look at the link above to find out more.

Football, especially for children, should be a game to be enjoyed. No one should leave the field of play feeling like they don’t want to enter it again. Yet, somehow, it had become accepted that the abuse and interference was just a part of the game.

Well, just as racism has been (almost) extinguished from the modern game, so too should this ongoing menace. The respect programme has already had a fantastic impact, but still more needs to be done by everyone involved with the game at every level.

After all, it’s all about one basic, common sense trait: respect.