Shakhtar owner threatens to box refs

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KIEV - Shakhtar Donetsk owner Rinat Akhmetov has warned Ukrainian referees he could use his old boxing skills if they do not play fair with the 2009 UEFA Cup winners.

The threat from one of the richest men in Ukraine came after another billionaire, Igor Kolomoisky, burst into the referees' room on Saturday to complain after his fifth-placed Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk team lost 2-0 at home to leaders Dynamo Kiev.

Local websites said Kolomoisky and his bodyguards were involved in a scuffle although one referee said the magnate simply had harsh words for the officials.

On the club's website the league's second-placed team asked Akhmetov whether he too would have barged into the referees' room in similar circumstances.

"I think I wouldn't have but let me advise the referees I am a former professional boxer. Let them keep in mind if I do come, it will end badly," Akhmetov said.

"I hope it will not come to that. I will try to control my emotions but if they suddenly drive me up the wall I cannot say how I will behave, whether I will be quick tempered, whether I will throw a series (of punches) or not.

"If I do (let loose) it will end badly for them. So let them be careful, professional and honest," added the oligarch and Member of Parliament.

Akhmetov, whose business interests cover steel, mining and banks, is an eastern industrialist worth $1.8 billion according to Forbes magazine.