A Kuwaiti soccer referee was fed up with being bullied by players, so he fought back.
In one of the most astonishing scenes in recent memory, referee Saad Al Fadhli punched and kicked a player, who was disputing one of his calls. He then showed his victim a red card — perhaps to really let him know who is in charge.
The incident took place Thursday near the end of a Kuwaiti Premier League game between Al Nasar and Al Arabi. Home team Al Nasar was holding onto a 1-0 lead in extra time when Al Fadhli controversially awarded Al Arabi a penalty kick. Al Nasar players immediately swarmed the referee, pulling and jostling him around.
That’s when Al Fadhli struck. He floored Al Nasr’s Abdulaziz Farraj with a left hook and kicked the player when he came back for more. The emboldened Al Fadhli then dismissed Farraj and one of his teammates before red carding a few more Al Nasr players and staff on the bench.
Fadhli somehow regained control of the game, and Al Arabi scored the penalty kick. On the ensuing kick-off, Al Nasr’s Zabn al-Enazi kicked the ball right at the combative referee, earning himself a red card in the process. Al Fadhli abandoned the game, which Al Arabi officially won 4-1.
It’s unknown what sanctions Al Fadhli will face for his role is in the melee. Public opinion seemed to favor him, as the crowd applauded when he lashed out at Farraj.
It’s all too common to see players, coaches and fans physically attack referees. It’s rare for the violence to flow in the other direction. In April, a Russian linesman received a lifetime ban for kicking a youth player. He might want to think about looking for work in Kuwait — depending on what course Al Fadhli’s case takes.
See Al Fadhli battle Al Nasar players in the video below.
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