This is the moment Gabriel Murta decides he’s had enough of drawing his whistle, red card, notebook and pencil. It’s time to use the gun.
During a lower-league Brazilian football match between Brumadinho and Amantes de Bolas (literally translates as “lovers of balls”*), the Amantes de Bola manager and substitutes rushed on the pitch to demand that a Brumadinho player be sent off.
Murta, the referee (reported to be a policeman) became incensed by the abuse he received from players after he was kicked and slapped.
Allegedly fearful for his safety, Murta rushed to the dressing room and returned brandishing the weapon, only to be restrained and escorted from the pitch by one of his fellow officials. The player who apparently assaulted him is seen on amateur mobile phone footage running off the pitch.
Fortunately, nobody was harmed and – since Murta was the only policeman present – he hasn’t been arrested and charged. In a statement Giuliano Bozzano, head of the Brazilian Referee’s Association, said “The Minais Gerais Football Federation has already summonsed the referee and a psychologist to a meeting and I’m going to talk with him today. On the basis of that conversation and his account of events and the results of the psychological assessment I’ll decide what, if any, measures to take.””
One anonymous commentator suggested that “if we armed the (UK) Premiership officials with handguns, maybe it would stop all those precious footballers from diving so often”. Possibly.
*Could be “Lovers of the Ball”, not “lovers of balls”, which is funnier.