By Chris Wright
A player in the Austrian fifth tier who physically assaulted a referee after having already been sent off has been hit with a humongous ban – one of, if not the longest ever administered in football history.
With his team leading 3-2 at the time, SK Rum midfielder Ismail Gunduz picked up a second yellow card during the 86th minute of his recent Landesliga West fixture against SPLG Innsbruck and promptly went ape-shit, headbutting the referee in the face and splitting his lip wide open.
As blood poured from his mouth, the official suspended the game with just four minutes left to play in order to be taken to hospital.
Gunduz, 26, has since been hit with an enormous 70-game suspension, as well as being sacked by SK Rum with the club also being fined €257 by their local FA too boot.
Just to put that in perspective, the Landesliga West season is only 26 games long.
After receiving his sentence, Gunduz reportedly later told local newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung he thought his punishment was “madness” and that he plans to appeal on the grounds that it was all a big “misunderstanding” as he merely slipped when he turned the referee’s face inside-out with his cranium.
However, the head of the Tyrolean FA, Horst Scherl, rubbished Gunduz’s pleas, saying: “The 70-match suspension is without precedent as far as we know, but it seemed proportionate to us given the gravity of the offence.”