Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Indonesian soccer player banned for life after sucker-punching referee

Indonesian soccer player Pieter Rumaropen was banned for life after punching a referee in the face during a top Super League match over the weekend.

It was the first life ban for a player in the country since 2008, and adds to the woeful state of football in Southeast Asia's biggest nation as it tries to recover from a crisis which saw rival federations running separate leagues.

Rumaropen's Persiwa Wamena were tied 1-1 with Pelita Bandung Raya on Sunday when referee Muhaimin awarded a penalty to Pelita with eight minutes left on the clock.

Video replays of the incident showed Rumaropen running up behind Muhaimin and landing a left-handed sucker punch to the referee's face.  The bloodied ref had to be admitted to a hospital due to excessive bleeding from his nose.

The match was held up for 15 minutes before a replacement official took over and gave Rumaropen a red card.

"This was a terrible act that we cannot tolerate," said Hinca Panjaitan, head of the disciplinary committee of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), as he announced the ban after a meeting in Jakarta.

"It has tarnished the image of Indonesian football in the international community, I hope this punishment will repair that."

The life ban, which comes into effect today, was the first for a player in Indonesia since 2008.  Five years ago, four players received the same punishment after kicking a referee and pulling down his shorts.

Persiwa, currently seventh in the 18-team league, lost 2-1 after their opponents converted the penalty.

Even it doesn't look like Pelita deserved the penalty, Rumaropen's cheap shot was even more foul. He's lucky he wasn't caned.

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