An amateur player in Austria has been hit with a 70-match ban after allegedly head-butting a referee. He claimed he slipped.
With his side down 3-2 against SPG Innsbruck West after 86 minutes last Saturday, Ismail Gunduz of amateur side SK Rum was reportedly infuriated after being shown a second yellow card.
According to a report in local paper Tiroler Tageszeitung, the 26-year-old Gunduz then stormed towards the official and head-butted him. The game was abandoned as a consequence.
"We distance ourselves from Ismail Gunduz's behaviour," Rum coach Michael Messner told the paper. "He was thrown out of the club with immediate effect and has also been banned from stepping onto Rum's football ground."
The Tirol football association imposed the 70-match-ban and also fined the club £204. Sporting director Matthias Waldegger said: "I hope that player will never find another club."
Waldegger was backed by Tirol FA president Josef Geisler. "Those are activities which stand contrary to the status of football," he said. "In my opinion you have to sanction him close to the maximum length to discourage others," he added, referring to the maximum sanction of 108 games in the association's rulebook.
However, the player defended himself, and maintained that he "slipped" on the pitch. "This sentence is madness," Gunduz insisted. "I will do all I can to return to the pitch."