Referees call for ‘exemplary sanctions’ following Kimpembe affair

As reported in Le Parisien referee unions are calling for ‘exemplary sanctions’ following a weekend which saw Presnel Kimpembe grab the referee’s arm in frustration – as well as the Guingamp Metz fixture being interrupted for 25 minutes after a supporter attempted to reach the referee after three players were sent off. 

The SAFE (professional referees) and UNAF (amateur referees) organisations released the following statement on the matter: 

“These gestures and acts of violence (…) which give a very bad image of football towards the amateur world lead to more and more difficulties in the accomplishment of the mission of referees of amateur competitions in the leagues and districts”.

Kimpembe’s incident occurred during Paris’ 1-0 win over Brest following a heavy challenge on Brest’s Irvin Cardona, for which he was fortunate not to be punished more harshly. As part of an experiment, exchanges between official Jérémie Pignard and players and coaches were captured to be broadcast on Sunday’s Dimanche Soir Football show on Amazon Prime. 

Approached by Pignard after the challenge, Kimpembe responded angrily, saying: “Woah, don’t touch me, brother!” Why are you touching me? Don’t touch me!“ before suddenly pushing the arm of the referee away.

Ligue 1 has long debated whether referees should be given microphones, akin to rugby officials, to aid the understanding of their decisions during games. This debate has intensified of late amid dozens of red cards at the start of the French season.

Sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra personally ensures that any sanctions will be exemplary and tough. The League’s Disciplinary Committee will meet on Wednesday.

George Boxall – GFFN Editor

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