Soccer

Russia’s Euro 2016 captain hospitalises referee after brutal attack

Former Russia midfielder Roman Shirokov is facing criminal prosecution after attacking a referee.

Shirokov won 57 caps for his country scoring 13 goals – playing in three European Championships along the way – and won the 2008 UEFA Cup with Zenit St Petersburg.

Now 39, he was featuring in an amateur tournament on Monday, playing for Match TV, the television channel for whom he works as a pundit.

In their quarter-final, playing alongside ex-Spartak Moscow midfielder Andrey Tikhonov and a number of commentators of the channel, Shirokov took umbrage with the official after not being awarded a penalty when challenged in the area.

After returning to his feet he yelled at match official Nikita Danchenko, who promptly blew his whistle and approached Shirokov, preparing to show a card.

An eyewitness claims the ex-Zenit man threatened Danchenko, declaring: "If you show a red one, I'll give you {making a fist].


As the official duly drew a red card, Shirokov punched him in the face, knocking him to the floor before proceeding to repeatedly kick him in the stomach while on the deck.

Opponents immediately jumped on Shirokov to get him away, before the official was treated on the field by medical staff and an ambulance was called.

Danchenko, according to reports in Russia, suffered a broken eyebrow as well as other bruising. The match was abandoned.

The incident occurred in the Moscow Celebrity Cup tournament.

The tournament’s organiser, German Popkov, labelled the incident “disgusting.”

"There was an ordinary episode, Roman's dispute with the referee, and then the beating began.

“This is unacceptable, disgusting and terrible. [It’s] very strange behaviour. A lot of people saw it live, all this from a million angles. And this is from people with whom we are completely friends.”

As the tournament is nothing to do with either the Russian Football Union or the Moscow Football Federation Shirokov is unlikely to face any football sanction.

He may face criminal proceedings however, after Danchenko spent over four hours in hospital.

"I spent four to four and a half hours in the hospital, then another 15-20 minutes in the emergency room," he detailed on Instagram. "They put stitches everywhere, did a bunch of examinations. And most importantly, everything seems to be fine with me.

"What does not kill you will make you stronger, as they say. Therefore, we continue to go further and continue to work.

"I want to thank everyone for the words of support, this is a difficult moment for me and my loved ones."

Dmitry Shnyakin, captain of the Match TV team, wrote on his social media: "Zero excuses, zero disputes over the act of Roman Shirokov. This is a nightmarish, paralysing episode.

"I am ashamed and incredibly sorry that this happened."

Shirokov took to Instagram on Tuesday morning to apologise, stating: "I would like to express my sincere apologies to Nikita for such an inappropriate act committed by me.

“I am well aware that not assigning an obvious penalty and then the red card shown cannot be a reason for waving his hands, I hope Nikita as soon as possible will return to service.

"I also want to apologize to the organizers of the tournament, my teammates, Match TV and viewers.”

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