Police probe after video of hockey referee’s altercation with 11yo player triggers public uproar
An ice hockey game in Russia’s Chelyabinsk region has caused a public uproar after video emerged on social media of the referee in an altercation with an 11-year-old player.
The incident took place in Zlatoust, a city near Chelyabinsk, when the referee officiating at the game between two local kids’ teams approached a penalty box, grabbed the player's mask and pushed him away.
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This action drew immediate indignation from the parents of the young players, who were at the game. According to some of the witnesses the young boy was "unconscious for several seconds" following the altercation with the official. Although the video does not show the full picture of the incident, the footage rapidly spread on the internet, coming to the attention of local police, who are reportedly thoroughly investigating the incident.
The Chelyabinsk ice hockey federation, however, insisted that the conflict was overly-dramatized and exaggerated.
“Clearly the scandal has been exaggerated,” said Anatoly Kopylov, a spokesperson for Chelyabinsk hockey federation.
“As far as I understood, the hockey player, who was sent to a penalty box, directed profanities towards the referee. The latter couldn’t restrain himself and grabbed the boy’s mask before pushing him.
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“I guess the player’s lip was injured by the mask’s chin strap. But the situation was wrongly interpreted [by] the media which claimed that the kid fainted because of the referee’s pushes.”
However, it has been reported that the referee will be summoned to a meeting with his employees regarding the incident.