A Winnipeg soccer referee was seriously injured after he was allegedly attacked by a player at a game Thursday evening.

Winnipeg police said they were called to the Vince Leah Recreation Centre on Salter St. around 9 p.m. about a possible assault.

Const. Jason Michalyshen said two adult male soccer teams had been playing. 

soccer assault

A man in his 50s who was refereeing a soccer game at the Vince Leah Recreation Centre on Thursday night was seriously injured in an assault. Winnipeg police said Saturday a 29-year-old man who was a player in the game, is facing an assault charge. (Tamara Pimental/CBC)

When officers arrived they found the referee, a man in his 50s, with serious injuries.

He said paramedics attended to the man and he was taken to hospital. He has since been upgraded to stable. 

Xxavier Barra, who witnessed the altercation unfold, said his team Galatasaray United was playing Winnipeg Croatia on Thursday when, in the final five minutes of play, a player on the Croatia team was given a yellow card.

He said the player then went on to taunt the ref and asked to be given another yellow card.

When the ref went to do that the player punched him and he fell to the ground unconscious, Barra said.

Barra alleged that the player then kicked the ref twice.

Xxavier Barra

Xxavier Barra was present for the altercation Thursday and said he witnessed another player punch and kick the ref. (Kiran Dhillon/CBC)

Michalyshen said an off-duty officer who happened to be on the scene held the suspect, a 29-year-old male soccer player, until police arrived.

The man is facing a charge of assault causing bodily harm. He's been released on a promise to appear.

He is not allowed to play in another match until a hearing is held.

In a statement released Monday, the Manitoba Soccer Association (MSA) says its discipline committee will hold a hearing "as soon as possible" into the alleged attack.

"The MSA does want to ensure due process is followed for all parties involved but we are clear that we don’t tolerate violence on the playing field," association executive director Héctor Vergara said in the statement.

The Manitoba Major Soccer League says it expects the MSA to hold a hearing soon and "appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against the accused party."

Read the full statement from the Manitoba Soccer Association below: