Austrian footballer handed 70-match ban

Austrian footballer handed 70-match ban
The SK Rum team. Photo: SK Rum
An Austrian footballer has been handed a record 70-match ban for assaulting a referee, the Tyrolean Football Federation confirmed.

Minutes before the final whistle in a game between SPG Innsbruck West and SK Rum, midfielder Ismail Gunduz became furious after a foul was not called in his favour. He headbutted the referee, who suffered a cut to his lip and subsequently suspended the match.

"The 70-match suspension is without precedent to our knowledge but it seems proportional given the gravity of the offence," said federation spokesman Horst Scherl.

The incident occurred last Saturday in Tyrol. SK Rum player Gunduz was about to receive a second yellow card after 86 minutes, while his team were trailing 3-2.

"The referee had to be hospitalised, his lip exploded, and the match was interrupted," said Scherl.

"The disciplinary commission decided on a 70-match suspension, all parties, with the exception of the player, who disputes the facts, agreeing the intentional aspect of the gesture," he continued.

The 26-year-old player was also suspended by his club who were fined  €257. “We’ll let him go as soon as we can. He won’t play on our pitch again,” coach Matthias Waldegger said.

Gundtz claimed that he slipped and accidentally hit the official in the head. He called the punishment “crazy” and has said he will appeal.

However, Scherl said that "the sanction could have been heavier: according to our statutes, a player could get up to 108 matches." 

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