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Maltese player probed after 'karate' kick at ref

TT/The Local · 11 Jul 2010, 18:52

Published: 11 Jul 2010 18:52 GMT+02:00

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The youth was later released after he was questioned on Friday afternoon. The tournament is Sweden's oldest youth football tournament and a major youth event, with over 345 teams from 10 countries, including Brazil and Argentina.

The team was about to lose a match against Verdal from Norway 1-0 and were very irritated at the referee and their opponents after receiving five red cards. According to witness accounts, some of the players spat and shouted abuse at the referee before a player ran up and gave the referee a karate kick in the chest.

After the incident, players, coaches and spectators charged onto the field and several people became involved in a fight that lasted for half an hour. The referee halted the match and police were called to Jämkraft Arena. Five police cars and 10 officers were called to the scene as players from around the world looked on in disbelief.

"We cannot accept this kind of incident," Sven-Bertil Bengtsson, president of Storsjöcupen, told Sveriges Radio Jämtland on Friday. "It is over for the team from Malta because the loss means that they are out of the tournament. We will send a report to the Malta Football Association."

According to Maltese media reports, the referee was apparently knocked to the ground and the fight on the pitch lasted more than half an hour. A player was taken in for questioning by police after the game while under suspicion for assault and later released. According to the player's version of events, he was pushed onto the referee during the scuffle.

The Malta Youth Football Association has condemned the incident, adding the team was not licensed by the organisation to participate in the tournament.

Story continues below…

"In the light of the reports both in the local and international media about the deplorable incidents during a youth football match at the Storsjocupen tournament, in Östersund, Sweden, the Youth FA categorically distances itself from this team," the association said in a statement.

However, the Times of Malta reported on Sunday that Maltese delegate Michael Farrugia accused foreign media reports of blowing the incident out of proportion. Farrugia also called the referee "cheeky" and said he lost control of the game.

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TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:43 July 12, 2010 by Audrian
This was thugry. Unpunished to would develop into serious crime. The boy should be band from football for at least two years. Those who joined the brawl should see their days in court.
13:43 July 12, 2010 by Kevin Harris
"The boy should be band from football for at least two years." sic

If you karate kick a referee in the stomach, that's it. No more football - ever. FIFA is very strong about this sort of thing.
08:45 July 17, 2010 by cblanquer
Maybe it is underlying to soccer. This sport is showing more and more that the goal is to win at any price and encourages violence on the fields.

Actually if the soccer WM top competition shows relevant levels of violence (a good example is again Netherlands against Uruguay), what can man expect from youngsters ?

I wonder whether they will apply the same treatment to the Netherlands player who emulated Bruce Lee during the soccer WM final with a side-kick on an players chest. He got only a yellow !
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