Refs behaving badly
Most referees show remarkable restraint when irate players are screaming in their faces after a 50-50 decision, but the whistle-blowers are human beings like the rest of us. Occasionally, then, match officials have been known to bite back. In this slideshow, we pick out 10 times the men in the middle went too far…
Atkinson tells Jagielka how to defend
Everton skipper Phil Jagielka slammed referee Martin Atkinson’s attitude after Everton's League Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester City in 2016. Atkinson failed to spot that Raheem Sterling had taken the ball out of play before pulling back to Kevin De Bruyne in the build-up to City’s crucial second goal, which levelled the tie on aggregate.
Jagielka claimed he tried to approach the official but got a derogatory response. "He told me that our defending was brilliant so, er... it's difficult when things start going the wrong way and they become a little bit arrogant,” the defender said. “But unfortunately that's the way it goes with some of them."
A very unfortunate reaction
Poor Diego Carlos was minding his own business, running back towards his own goal to ensure a Paris Saint-Germain attack didn’t result in the league leaders’ second goal of the night in early 2018. Yet on his way back he inadvertently collided with referee Tony Chapron, who fell to the floor and then astonishingly aimed a kick at the Nantes defender, before showing him a second yellow card for his troubles.
"At the time of the collision, I felt a sharp pain where I had recently suffered an injury,” Chapron pleaded. “My unfortunate reaction was to stick my leg out towards the player."
Claus Bo Larsen vs Paolo Di Canio
A man with a history around referees – ask Paul Alcock – Di Canio claimed the arbiter “used bad words” against him during West Ham’s UEFA Cup defeat by Steaua Bucharest in 1999. The fiery Italian claimed referee Claus Bo Larsen had called him “a b*st*rd” twice and said that he should be removed before he got sent off – advice quickly and sensibly acted upon by Hammers manager Harry Redknapp.
Larsen, though, denied he’d insulted the player: “I didn't say 'get up b*st*rd', I said 'get the f*** up'.” That’s cleared that up, then.
Dowd wipes the floor with Wigan
Wigan boss Paul Jewell accused Phil Dowd of using the f-word at a number of his players as the Latics controversially lost 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium in February 2007.
The club wrote a letter to referees’ chief Keith Hackett, claiming in it that a number of players were verbally abused in an aggressive and menacing manner. Jewell was incensed that the referee hadn't given Wigan a penalty when they were 1-0 up, and was also infuriated that Josip Skoko wasn’t let back on the pitch after receiving treatment, leading to a Fitz Hall own goal which set up Arsenal for a comeback triumph.
Deadpan Dougie books Gazza
Referee Dougie Smith’s Christmas spirit must have been on vacation in December 1995 at Ibrox when Paul Gascoigne returned the yellow card the referee had dropped in a game against Hibernian. Gazza being Gazza, he pretended to book Smith on handing it back, but was horrified to be handed a caution for this heinous outbreak of spontaneous fun.
One of Hibs’ players, Joe Tortolano, allegedly said to deadpan Dougie: “You're booking him for that?!” Smith's response was rumoured to be: “He's been taking the p*** out of you all day, but he's not doing it to me.”
Luis Godinho: the Portuguese Mike Dean
In a Portuguese League Cup tie against Moreirense, Porto midfielder Danilo had already been booked when ref Luis Godinho (dubbed the ‘Portuguese Mike Dean’ by The Mirror) jogged backwards straight into the midfielder. Stunned by this juddering but purely accidental loss of dignity, Godinho produced a second yellow.
After an early bath, Danilo’s social media share was eloquent in its appraisal. "I have seen and reviewed the video more than a hundred times and can honestly not understand the criteria of the decision made by this gentleman.”
Kuwaiti ref goes kamikaze
The Kuwait Premier League was the scene of a real kicking off during a match between Al-Nasr and Al-Arabi in 2013. Trouble was brewing when referee Saad Al Fadhli awarded a penalty to Al-Arabi which infuriated the home team, who surrounded and pushed the official.
They wished they hadn't: Al Fadhli swung a retaliatory left hook to floor Al-Nasr player Abdulaziz Farraj. After much writhing, Farraj eventually got back up, only to receive a kick by the furious ref who subsequently dismissed him.
Sylvester's no sweetie pie
School caretaker Melvin Sylvester was refereeing the Andover and District Sunday League game in 1998 between Southampton Arms and Hurstbourne Tarrant British Legion when one of the local players, Richard Curd, pushed him from behind.
Sylvester went ballistic: "I punched him several times after he had pushed me from behind. He then swore. I couldn't take any more. I blew my top.” You can say that again…
Graham Poll f***s out with JT
The self-promoting Thing from Tring was accused of using the f-word after red-carding John Terry in Chelsea’s loss to Tottenham in 2006. Terry was fined £10,000 for suggesting Poll had given conflicting versions of why he was given a second booking, while an FA Disciplinary Commission cleared the referee of any wrongdoing after some Blues players claimed that Poll said “they needed to be taught a lesson”.
The referee quit the game in May 2007, citing the fact he’d received little support from the Premier League over the matter and that it had taken them 25 days to come to their conclusion.
Carlos Tevez and the cheated Corinthians
Things got so bad that Corinthians hired a camera crew to film the referee during a match against Atletico Paranaense, while the officials contemplated carrying a tape recorder in retaliation.
Tevez smelled foul play after being on the receiving end of the referee’s tongue during Corinthians' 3-2 reverse to Sao Paulo in 2005. He accused ref Edilson Pereira de Carvalho of swearing at him and compatriot Sebastian Dominguez, as well as claiming that Brazilian officials persecuted Argentinian players.
De Carvalho later admitted he had taken money from a gambling ring to swing results, so 11 matches refereed by him were annulled and replayed. He was later banned for life.
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