As for the Week in Ironic Soccer Violence, we bring you the comedic-tragic World Class Players Cup out of Regina, Saskatchewan. There, teams from different national backgrounds compete in a three-week tournament, under the auspices of multiculturalism and understanding and sportspersonship and not harming people who are just trying to referee a soccer game. You can tell where this is going.
Police were dispatched at 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, to the Credit Union Eventplex at 1700 Elphinstone Street. The caller indicated a referee at a soccer match was struck unconscious by a player on one of the teams. A number of officers arrived at the scene and two officers made their way to the 45 year-old male victim. Preliminary investigation indicates the victim had been struck in the jaw, causing him to fall, unconscious, to the ground.
Those two teams in question would be Sudan and Poland, who apparently got into a tiff that turned into a flurry of red-carding. The tournament’s blog later characterized it as “a scuffle” made of “a little pushing and shoving” that led to two ejections on either side. Play resumed. Fifteen minutes later, more fireworks. A witness named Hussam Ibrahim, of Sudan, recounted the scene to the CBC:
"Things got out of hand, people started fouling and tackling each other," Ibrahim said.
The referees handed out two red cards to Sudan and two red cards to Poland.
"All hell broke loose" when the ref went to deliver a third red card, he said.
"I didn't see a punch, but he touched his [the ref's] face," Ibrahim said. "By no means am I justifying it, no touching should ever happen ... but from a fan's point of view, the ref overreacted."
From a Sudanese fan’s point of view, in other words, the ref was over the line. From a Polish fan’s point of view, the final score was Poland 4, Sudan 1 and you got to watch a mini-melee, so it was a pretty rad Wednesday night in Regina. From an EMT’s point of view, the ref was eventually fine and declined to be taken to a hospital. From a cop’s point of view, there’s still a 26-year-old suspect on the loose after he skipped out of the Team Sudan locker room. And from a tournament official's point of view, the show continues. As the tourney blog chirped, “The fans and cultural communities for both Team Poland as well as Team Sudan, while stunned by the way the game ended, remained respectful and positive and stayed true to the WCP Cup vision that all cultural groups can come together in a respectful and peaceful way.”
And from an amateur videographer's point of view, he was about 10 seconds late on the draw: