Former Russia midfielder Roman Shirokov attacked the referee during an amateur tournament, Moscow Celebrity Cup, involving a television channel for whom he works as a pundit. The 39-year-old faces criminal prosecution for attacking referee Nikita Danchenko.
Shirokov has represented Russia 57 times and has scored 13 goals as well as playing in three European Championships and has won the 2008 UEFA Cup with Zenit St Petersburg.
In the quarter-final of the tournament, Shirokov was infuriated when the referee did award a penalty after he was tackled in the penalty box. Shirokov got back to his feet and proceeded to yell at the referee who approached him to show him a card for discretion.
At this point, according to an eyewitness, Shirokov told the referee: "If you show a red one, I'll give you (making a fist)."
Here is the video of the incident:
⚡️ Роман Широков избил судью на матче любительского турнира. Посмотрите, просто трэш
— Sports.ru (@sportsru) August 10, 2020
The referee suffered a broken eyebrow as well as other bruising and spent over four hours in hospital, according to reports in Russia. The match was abandoned.
The tournament's organiser, German Popkov, called the incident "disgusting".
"There was an ordinary episode, Roman's dispute with the referee, and then the beating began.
“This is unacceptable, disgusting and terrible. [It’s] very strange behaviour. A lot of people saw it live, all this from a million angles. And this is from people with whom we are completely friends."
Shirokov is unlikely to face any football sanction as the tournament has nothing to do with either the Russian Football Union or the Moscow Football Federation but he may face criminal proceedings.
Nikita Danchenko detailed his condition on social media:
"I spent four to four and a half hours in the hospital, then another 15-20 minutes in the emergency room," he wrote on Instagram.
"They put stitches everywhere, did a bunch of examinations. And most importantly, everything seems to be fine with me.
"What does not kill you will make you stronger, as they say. Therefore, we continue to go further and continue to work.
"I want to thank everyone for the words of support, this is a difficult moment for me and my loved ones."
Dmitry Shnyakin, captain of Shirokov's team, wrote on his social media: "Zero excuses, zero disputes over the act of Roman Shirokov. This is a nightmarish, paralysing episode.
"I am ashamed and incredibly sorry that this happened."
Shirokov also took to Instagram to apologise, saying: "I would like to express my sincere apologies
to Nikita for such an inappropriate act committed by me.
"I am well aware that not assigning an obvious penalty and then the red card shown cannot be a reason for waving his hands, I hope Nikita as soon as possible will return to service.
"I also want to apologize to the organizers of the tournament, my teammates, Match TV and viewers."