Player knocks out referee at amateur football match

By Duc Dong   January 11, 2024 | 05:58 am PT
Referee Le Tuan Kiet was knocked out by an amateur team player at a Ho Chi Minh City community football tournament on Tuesday night.

In the 20th minute of a game between Cealdon and Doanh Nhan Quang Ngai (DNQN) at the seven-a-side football tournament Doanh Nhan Online S7, referee Kiet called a foul on a DNQN player.

When other DNQN squad members began discussing the call with Kiet, player Hong Quang suddenly punched the official straight in his face.

The single blow knocked Kiet out immediately.

After medical attention, Kiet came to and was replaced on the field.

But he still officiated the rest of the game on the sidelines.

Player Hong Quang punches referee Le Tuan Kiet in an amateur match on Jan. 9, 2024. Video by VnExpress

"My guard was let down and I didn't expect that coming, so I got a sudden punch and was stunned," Kiet said Wednesday on his way to a medical clinic after the match. "After that, I tried to complete my duty. My face still hurts now."

According to examination results at Hoa Hao Medical Center, Ho Chi Minh City, Kiet suffered swelling and hematoma under the skin and muscle of his right cheek, as well as a fractured right upper jaw. He was referred to the Ho Chi Minh City Dental Hospital for treatment.

Also on Wednesday, tournament organizers fined DNQN VND10 million (US$408) and used the funds to cover all the referee’s medical expenses.

Kiet is an futsal referee with the HCMC Football Federation (HFF). In addition to officiating futsal tournaments organized by the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), he has also been assigned duties at amateur tournaments.

Trọng tài Tuấn kiệt làm nhiệm vụ tại một giải đấu thuộc LĐBĐ Việt Nam (VFF). Ảnh: Đức Đồng

Referee Le Tuan Kiet officiates a football match. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Doanh Nhan Online S7 is an annual tournament that HFF has supported for the past 15 years. Hoang Ngoc Tuan, deputy general secretary of HFF in charge of refereeing, was surprised when the incident happened on Tuesday.

"Kiet handled the situation correctly, but footballer Hong Quang lost his temper and caused injury to him," Tuan added. "The organizers have apologized to referee Kiet and have permanently banned player Hong Quang from all future amateur tournaments."

According to Tuan, the incident happened after Quang was fouled. Referee Kiet only gave the opponent a yellow card, but Quang demanded a red card. In addition, DNQN team were losing 0-2 and would soon be eliminated from the tournament, so the players were already losing their calm.

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