A FERMANAGH referee was struck by an object thrown from the crowd at a Europa League match causing the game to be suspended.
Arnold Hunter from Maguiresbridge was refereeing in the tie between Universitatea Craiova and Budapest Honved in Romania on Thursday night when he was struck by an object believed to have been a flare or a smoke bomb.
The object was thrown onto the pitch during the last minute of extra time while a brawl had broke out between players. Over 22,000 people attended the game which saw flares, lighters and other objects thrown onto the pitch.
Hunter received on-field treatment following the incident and the match was stopped for around half an hour before Hunter eventually had to be replaced by the fourth official for the closing minutes of the game.
After the delay, the fourth official took charge of the game, which Craiova won 3-1 on penalties to reach the third qualifying round.
Hungarian side Honved said there were “scandalous” scenes during the match and discussions about whether to continue with the match was held between officials.
After the incident, Ballinamallard United Football Club offered well wishes to Hunter who also officiates in the Irish League. “We wish local referee Arnold Hunter well following this appalling incident while he was officiating at a Europa League qualifying game.”
Following the incident, a UEFA spokesperson revealed that they would be reviewing the match officials reports before deciding upon any action.
Posted: 9:22 am August 10, 2019