x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Luis Jimenez will have to 'face the consequences for butting referee'

Al Ahli midfielder apologised to Ammar Ali Al Junaibi after the club's victory against Al Jazira, but Ahmed Yaqoub warns the Chile playmaker faces a stern punishment.

Luis Jimenez walks off the pitch after being sent off for butting a referee during Al Ahli's 2-1 win against Al Jazira.
Luis Jimenez walks off the pitch after being sent off for butting a referee during Al Ahli's 2-1 win against Al Jazira.

DUBAI // Al Ahli's Luis Jimenez "will have to face the consequences" of butting the referee in Sunday night's Pro League game against Al Jazira, a senior Football Association official has said.

"For sure, there will be some action taken against him," said Yousuf Abdullah, the general secretary of the FA. "This will be a black point in his career as a football player."

The former chief of the referee's committee, meanwhile, said Jimenez behaved like an "ox" and deserved a stern punishment, while the player's club tried to downplay the seriousness of the incident.

Jimenez charged at the referee angrily in the 76th minute of the match after Ammar Ali Al Junaibi had given a foul in favour of Jazira. As the official also rushed towards the player, their heads collided.

The Chile playmaker, who had earlier scored both of Ahli's goals in the 2-1 win, was shown a red card and faces a possible ban when the FA's Disciplinary Committee meet to discuss the issue.

"We are waiting for the referee's report and then we will decide what action to take," said Ahmed Yaqoub, chairman of the FA's referees committee.

Jimenez apologised to the referee after the match and now awaits the decision of the displinary committee.

"It was not a normal reaction and I apologise to the referee, the fans and my team," said the Chilea international after the game. "I have said sorry to the referee and I accept I was wrong."

Ali Bujsaim, a former international referee and former chief of the referee's committee, expects the officials to take a strong stand over the incident.

"The disciplinary committee will surely take action because to accept something like this is really bad for the league," said Bujsaim, who has officiated at three World Cups.

"That was not a professional act at all. His behaviour was not against the referee alone, but it went against the fairness of the game. He showed a really bad attitude and gave a really bad impression about himself, his country and his profession.

"It was a really stupid act and what did he achieve from it? He went like a fool to hit the referee with his head. Football is for footballers, not oxen. He can act like this outside the field, but not on it. You cannot behave like that with the judge of the match.

"Thank God he does not have horns, otherwise it would be very dangerous for all the players."

Ahli were leading 2-0 when the incident happened and three minutes after the expulsion, Jazira pulled one back through Bare. The hosts survived the closing minutes with 10 men, but Bujsaim feels Jimenez's action could have cost his team three points.

"He worked against Al Ahli club," Bujsaim said. "His team was leading 2-0 at the moment and playing really well. After his expulsion, Ahli came under a lot of pressure.

"His behaviour affected his team, the people ... everybody was upset when he did that. He is a professional and there are young players watching this match. He has a responsibility. I cannot understand why he did that. He ran from such a long way and did this.

"Sometimes if there is a good reason, you expect the players to discuss the decision [with the referee]. But at that moment, it was not an important decision. He was on the side of the winning team, not the losing team and not under pressure."

The Ahli officials, however, see things differently and Ahmed Khalifa Hammad said bad refereeing was to blame for Jimenez losing his cool.

"I believe we should not talk like something really big happened ... this is normal in football," said Hammad, who is the chief executive of the Al Ahli Football Company. "The player is human and he was under a lot of pressure.

"It was a reaction to an original action; so we cannot just look at the reaction, we have to look at the action that caused it. What he did was a reaction to the pressure on the players. So we need to look at the original action, not focus on the reaction alone.

"Anyway, the referee used his authority and the tools at his disposal, giving him a red card. That's it ... there is nothing more to it."

Bujsaim conceded Al Junaibi did not have a good match and made a few errors, but that is not a reason to condone Jimenez's behaviour.

"The referee in the match, he did make some mistakes but those mistakes were not the sort to affect the result of the match," he said. "It was just some fouls and a yellow card.

"He didn't get into the right position to see the foul that the Australian Lucas Neill committed against Ismail Al Hammadi of Al Ahli. That was a foul and a yellow card, and he did not see it. But that was not a scoring chance or a penalty.

"He missed a few small fouls here and there, but that is normal in every match. You cannot go and hit the referee with your head for a foul.

"We have not seen such an act in our league for a very long time. We thought we passed such behaviour a long time ago. We used to talk about professionalism earlier, but when the league turns professional we see a player running at the referee for no reason and butting him."

A lengthy ban on Jimenez could hurt Ahli at a time when they have been surging up the table after a disappointing start to the season. Hammad, however, is confident his team have enough quality replacements.

"Al Ahli have 39 players and we have not really played with all four professional players this season," he said. "The Jazira match was one of the rare occasions when we had four foreign professionals on the pitch.

"So we are not a team depending on just the foreign players, or two or three star players. We good players across the bench and they have done well whenever they have got a chance ... So we are not worried about anything."

 

arizvi@thenational.ae