A Calgary man is facing a charge of physical assault following an incident in April at a soccer match in Regina where a referee was allegedly punched in the jaw.
The alleged punch took place at a soccer game April 10 between Poland and Sudan in a tournament called the World Class Players Cup.
Statement from Team Sudan:
Team Sudan Organizing Committee and Team Sudan players would like to offer its sincere apology to the game officials, its fans, all soccer fans, WCP, Sudanese community, and the Regina community at large for the regrettable incidents that took place in our game with Team Poland on the night of Wednesday April 10th.
We specifically apologize for the sad and isolated incident of the confrontation that took place between one of our players and the game referee.
We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our support to the WCP and the values it represents. Team Sudan has been a strong partner in reflecting these values for the last few years. It is not about losing or winning a game or the whole tournament. In this very tournament we lost our first game with our friends in Team France and as always the game ended with the two teams greeting each other, our team congratulating Team France for its deserved win, and the fans leaving peacefully and satisfied.
However, many incidents from both sides took place at the night of our game with Team Poland. Our players felt from the beginning that they are not playing a clean game. They didn't feel fairness in many of the official's calls.
That galvanized when one of our players was attacked in a way that left him unconscious, this player had to stay in the hospital for several hours and was told that he had suffered concussion. It worth mentioning that, despite of his serious injury, this player didn't get immediate medical attention on the field. Among all this chaos the regrettable incident took place. We would like to stress that we condemn in the strongest terms any unacceptable actions and consider them isolated and don't represent the values of Team Sudan.
It is our intention to be partners with the WCP in making the tournament a better one.
We are ready to accept responsibility for our actions and take every measure possible to improve. Also, we would like this to be as part of an overall improvement to the tournament.
[Statement issued April 12, 2013]
Police were called to the event by tournament organizers, who said the game was marred by several scuffles among players.
According to tournament organizers, near the end of the game a referee issued a red card to a player and that is when a punch was allegedly thrown.
Police say the referee, 45, was hit in the jaw and knocked out but the man declined to be taken to hospital by ambulance.
They said officers who responded to the incident checked locker rooms and other areas of the building looking for a male matching the description of the suspect.
He was not found that night, but the police investigation led to the assault charge, announced Tuesday, against a 26-year-old man from Calgary.