MOSCOW (Reuters) - Match officials often face a torrent of abuse from angry players and on some occasions the attacks can turn violent.
Rarely are the roles reversed, yet Chechen linesman Musa Kadyrov lost his composure in a Russian fixture on Sunday and launched a vicious assault on one of the players.
The incident occurred at the end of a Russian league reserve game in Grozny between Amkar Perm and local side Terek when a raging Kadyrov dropped his flag and ran onto the pitch, attacking startled defender Ilya Krichmar.
“The ref blew the final whistle and I started walking to our bench, when suddenly someone came from behind, pushed me to the ground and began kicking and punching me,” the 18-year-old Amkar player told reporters.
“Terek players then joined the attack. Someone grabbed me by the throat, another hit me... bloodying my face.
“Thank God, my team mates came to the rescue. Special thanks to Vlasov from Terek. We had known each other from a youth academy in St Petersburg and he helped me escape.”
Kadyrov said Krichmar had insulted him but the player denied the allegation.
“We weren’t happy with the officiating, words had been exchanged but I had never said anything personal about him or his mother,” he said. “I know how sensitive Chechen people are.”
Former FIFA referee Alexei Spirin, who was working as an assessor of Sunday’s match, was left shocked by the episode.
“In all my refereeing career I have never seen anything like it. This guy (Kadyrov) should not be a referee,” Spirin said.
“He had no clue about rules, even worse, attacked a player. On a scale of one to 10, I’d give him a zero and I’m writing a special report. He should not be allowed to officiate again.”
Krichmar was asked if he would attend the Russian Cup final in Grozny on June 1 if invited by Chechen officials.
“No, I would not go. I could still feel some hatred there after the (Chechen) war, although we had no problem with security in Grozny,” Krichmar said. “We always had bodyguards with machine guns around us. The food was good as well, but...”
Sunday’s incident was the latest in a series of violent attacks on players in Russian soccer.
Krasnodar striker Spartak Gogniyev suffered a broken nose and fractured ribs after being attacked by Terek officials at a reserve game in Grozny in November 2011.
Gogniyev was handed a six-game ban and $1,600 fine by the Russian FA for pushing the referee. The world players’ union FIFPro, however, slammed the decision to punish the player.
Former Montenegro striker Nikola Nikezic lodged a complaint with FIFA and UEFA in 2011, saying he had been forced to end his contract with Kuban Krasnodar after being beaten up and threatened with a gun.
Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov; Editing by John O'Brien