The shocking event has occurred in the 78' minute of the game. AR2 has been hit by a bottle thrown from the stands, during the game between Austrian side of Sturm Graz and AEK Larnaca from Cyprus.
|AR suffered a serious injury with blood and he was later replaced by fourth official|
First of all, we strongly condemn this action and we want to wish the assistant referee a quick and full recover from this serious injury.
Following this incident, after a quite long break of the play, UEFA has decided to resume the game with the fourth official taking the duties of the assistant referee. According to our opinion this was a very weak signal against the violence, almost an unacceptable choice, if we think to all referees who suffer such acts in amateur and minor leagues. UEFA must be aware that this was a wrong choice in any case. This action could have led to very serious consequences for the assistant referee. Game had to be stopped in any case and then disciplinary committee would have decided about the outcome.
As referee, after such incident, somebody wouldn't have even the courage to go on. Indeed, the only right thing to do is to stop everything.
In recent times UEFA has shown, of course that's just our opinion and nothing more, a certain tolerance about this kind of incidents, trying always to favour the game in any situation, even when players and referees safety has been in danger. We could mention Montenegro - Russia, as example, officiated by Aytekin three years ago: a firecracker had hit Russian keeper, but also in that case, after a long break, UEFA decided to resume the game and some players were hit again, and then finally there was a suspension.
Safety is not a joke, for this reason we can't definitely understand why for UEFA playing football seems to be more important in certain circumstances.
The video of the incident: