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‘It was clumsy’: French referee sorry for kicking out at footballer

The French referee who became a pantomime villain after he launched a kick at a Nantes footballer during their match with PSG has apologized, describing the act "clumsy and inappropriate".

'It was clumsy': French referee sorry for kicking out at footballer
AFP

French referee Tony Chapron became the pantomime villain of Paris Saint-Germain's 1-0 win at Nantes on Sunday, after responding to an accidental collision with Diego Carlos by kicking the Brazilian and sending him off.

In injury time and with PSG on the counter-attack, Chapron stepped across the backtracking Nantes centre-back Carlos and tumbled to the floor.

The official stunned the stadium and those watching at home by kicking out at Carlos while still on the ground, in an incident reminiscent of David
Beckham at the 1998 World Cup, before brandishing a second yellow card at the unfortunate player.

On Monday the French football federation suspended Chapron until further notice and will be hauled before a disciplinary committee.

He then issued an apology for the act.

“During the match Nantes-PSG I was knocked over by Diego Carlos, a player with Nantes. At the moment of impact I felt a sharp pain where I had recently suffered an injury.

“My unfortunate reaction was to stick my leg out towards the player.”

Chapron had infuriated Nantes officials with the gesture.

Nantes president Waldemar Kita called it “a joke”.

After talking to Chapron “He told me that he had never wanted to kick the player and that he had felt himself pushed in the back,” said 

“It's a joke. I got 20 text messages from across the world telling me this referee is a joke,” Kita told French TV. “What do you want me to say? If I
speak too much I'll be called in front of an ethics commission. We have no right to say anything.”

Nantes midfielder Valentin Rongier had a good view of the incident and called for the referee to be given a lengthy ban.

“He says he slipped, but I know he kicked him,” Rongier told Canal+.

“I know it's very difficult to referee but you have to question them from time to time… We do that, we get a 10-match ban.”

Former England striker Gary Lineker and ex-Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas were among those to express their bemusement on Twitter.

“Surely the good man will have apologised. It was spontaneous,” wrote Casillas.

“Yes, for me it's agression and red! Three matches minimum!”

FOOTBALL

French prosecutors demand jail term for Russian accused of leaving England football fan with brain damage

French prosecutors on Friday called for a 15-year prison sentence for one of two Russians accused of beating a British supporter during Euro 2016, an attack that left him with brain injuries.

French prosecutors demand jail term for Russian accused of leaving England football fan with brain damage
Russian fans light flares at the match against England in 2016.. Photo: AFP

One prosecutor, Christophe Raffin, asked for the “legal maximum… between 14 and 15 years” for Pavel Kossov, who is accused of throwing the first punch at 55-year-old Andrew Bache.

Bache was injured in the violence that broke out before England played Russia in the southern French port city of Marseille on June 11th, 2016.

The second Russian on trial in Aix-en-Provence, Mikhail Ivkine, stands accused of throwing a chair at the victim, with prosecutors asking for a potential suspended sentence of up to five years.

He has claimed he was defending himself.

“No, it wasn't legitimate self-defence, it was illegitimate use of force against Andrew Bache,” Raffin said of the violence.

 

Police give emergency aid to Andrew Bache following clashes in the city of Marseille. Photo: AFP

The prosecutors said the Russians were part of a group of about 150 men, many with martial arts training, who wrought havoc in Marseille.

Bache, from Portsmouth in southern England, has no memory of the events and is too frail to attend the trial.

His son Harry, who nurses his father, is representing him in court.

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