Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration for article titled Utah Soccer Referee Punched By Teenage Player, Dies A Week Later

Richard Portillo, a 46-year-old soccer referee from Salt Lake City, was officiating a game on April 27 when a player punched him in the head after Portillo gave him a yellow card. Portillo slipped into a coma and died Saturday night, exactly one week after the incident.

KTUL, via the Associated Press:

The teenager was playing goalie during a game at Eisenhower Junior High School in Taylorsville when Ricardo Portillo issued him a yellow card for pushing an opposing forward trying to score a goal. In soccer, a yellow card is given as a warning to a player for an egregious violation of the rules. Two yellow cards lead to a red card and expulsion from the game.

The teenager, quite a bit heavier than Portillo, began arguing with the referee, then unleashed a punch to his face. Portillo seemed fine at first, then asked to be held because he felt dizzy. He sat down and started vomiting blood, triggering his friend to call an ambulance.


Since he's not yet 18 years old, the player remained unnamed. The teenager was taken into juvenile detention for aggravated assault, but now that Portillo is dead, additional charges will be considered, according to authorities.


Image Source: AP/Rick Bowmer

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