Commentary

Mexican referees -- and fans -- win as player bans boosted

The strike of Liga MX referees in Mexico lasted one game. They got their point across when they showed up for work on Friday -- and refused to officiate. On appeal, the suspensions for Toluca's Enrique Triverio and Club America's Pablo Aguilar for referee assaults were increased to one-year bans by the Mexico federation.

The incidents both took place during Copa MX matches last Wednesday. Aguilar directed his head toward referee Fernando Torres as if to head-butt him while Triverio pushed referee Miguel Flores in the chest.

Both players received red cards. But Aguilar and Triverio were only handed 10- and eight-game bans by the Mexican federation's disciplinary committee for attempted assault. The appeals committee found Aguilar and Triverio to have committed referee assault. Article 18, Section N of the Mexican federation's policies call for a one-year ban if a player "attacks" an official "in any form."

Decio De Maria, president of the Mexican federation, said that distinction -- between assault and attempted assault -- was the basis for the change in suspensions.

"It hurt because I am one of the millions of people who like to watch soccer," he said on Monday, "and I could not see it. Who won are the fans, who should always win."

The Mexican federation's policy is much tougher than U.S. Soccer's policy on referee assault. Policy 202(1)(H)-2 calls for a six-game ban for assault though a league may issue tougher sanctions.

(The longest suspension in MLS history was 10 games to Colorado Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan -- for breaking Seattle Sounders winger Steve Zakuani's leg in 2011. In recent years, Fabian Espindola and Jermaine Jones received six-games suspensions in referee aggression cases. Clint Dempsey's suspension for ripping up a ref's notebook in 2015 was famously limited to three games for referee "abuse.")
2 comments about "Mexican referees -- and fans -- win as player bans boosted".
  1. R2 Dad, March 13, 2017 at 9:20 p.m.

    Good that the referees stood up for the game--Liga MX would have let that slide. Let this be a lesson to MLS "management", officials, players and fans. If you want the rules to mean anything, you should be prepared to sacrifice to ensure they do. I would like to see PRO refuse to officiate the next MLS final unless MLS "management" states the LOTG will be implemented per the regular season and playoffs, without any undue (as has previously been demonstrated) influence.

  2. Fire Paul Gardner Now, March 14, 2017 at 11:32 a.m.

    I didn't realize that was the reason for this strike. Good for the refs and I'm glad the federation saw sense and increased the bans.

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