Soccer officials under attack


Sean Callaghan, Reporter

Recently in soccer around the world, several referees have been savagely attacked and in some severe cases, killed by young players. In the Netherlands, a Dutch volunteer linesman also known as an assistant referee or AR for short, was beaten to death. In Spain and Germany, refs were viciously attacked and hospitalized.

The most recent incident occurred in Salt Lake City, when a 46 year-old official, Ricardo Portillo gave a player a red card. The amateur league player punched him, giving him severe injuries. Ricardo died within the next few days. A very similar situation occurred in Valencia, Spain when a 17 year-old official was attacked after attempting to send off a player off the field for insulting him. The man who attacked the young referee was a policeman 10 years older than him. The man sucker-punched him in the face while he began to write down the booking in his notebook.

As the young man lied on the ground, the same player kicked him twice while defenseless and in large amounts of pain. The attacker is suspended from his job and playing soccer. The date for his trial has not yet been decided. These incidents are ridiculous, soccer is meant to be the opposite of beating the officials.

The goal, like any other sport is to compete with the other team. The competition is of course majorly influenced by referees, which provides and excuse for the players in the case of a loss to poor sports, but the influence of refs can seriously frustrate and aggravate many  players, coaches, parents, and fans. The obvious but also almost completely impossible solution would be  to inform all players of what their actions can do and change the attitude of trouble-making players, but that is simply not going to happen. The referees, even though few are even in danger, are forced to run the risk of being in dangerous situations and make a fair game in the hopes that the end result is a generally positive one.

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