Shocking footage has captured the moment a former national captain attacked a referee during an amateur football match in Russia.
Former Russia midfielder Roman Shirokov could face criminal charges over the sickening incident that left referee Nikita Danchenko in hospital.
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Shirokov – who scored 13 goals in 57 games for Russia – lashed out at the whistle-blower after receiving a red card for dissent during the Moscow Celebrity Cup.
The 39-year-old, who played in three European Championships and won the 2008 UEFA Cup with Zenit St Petersburg, was left fuming after the referee failed to award him a penalty for an apparent foul in the box.
Shirokov was then sent off after abusing the referee, prompting him to launch a vicious attack on the official.
Clearer footage of former Russia midfielder Roman Shirokov attacking the referee during a ‘Moscow Celebrity Cup’ match.
Strikes the referee after being shown a red card then kicks him when he’s down. Despicable. pic.twitter.com/v5oYUtKE5W
— Liam Tyler (@tyler_lj) August 11, 2020
The midfielder punched the referee in the face, causing him to the fall to the ground, where he proceeded to kick him before players stepped in to put a stop to the madness.
The referee suffered a broken eyebrow as well as other bruising and spent over four hours in hospital, according to reports in Russia. The match was abandoned.
The tournament’s organiser, German Popkov, called the incident “disgusting”.
“This is unacceptable, disgusting and terrible. [It’s] very strange behaviour,” he said.
“A lot of people saw it live, all this from a million angles. And this is from people with whom we are completely friends.”
Images show shocking extent of attack
The referee Nikita Danchenko plans to go to the police but fears his career might be over as “Shirokov has too many connections.”
Shirokov only apologised this morning.
He’s been suspended from all @Matchtv activity where he is an expert. pic.twitter.com/9yB6YVQnXT
— Artur Petrosyan (@arturpetrosyan) August 11, 2020
Shirokov is unlikely to face sanction from a football sense because it was not an official match but he could yet face criminal charges.
The referee shared photos of his injuries from the brutal assault, having spent more than four hours in hospital after the match.
“I spent four to four and a half hours in the hospital, then another 15-20 minutes in the emergency room,” he wrote 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…