Clubs welcome referees with honor guard after violent incident

Yaghi said he was still in a lot of pain and was told he would be on a liquid diet for at least six weeks.

“I’ve had sleepless nights on a liquid diet and I can only eat in front of a mirror as I’ve lost feeling in my lower lips,” he said.

Soccer referee Khodr Yaghi, 45, is recovering after having three teeth knocked out and his jaw broken in three places.

Soccer referee Khodr Yaghi, 45, is recovering after having three teeth knocked out and his jaw broken in three places.Credit: Rhett Wyman

Yaghi has been a referee for 24 years and told this imprint after the incident he had previously been abused from the touchline but this was the worst thing he had experienced. However, on Saturday he reiterated that this would not deter him from becoming a referee.

“I will referee until I die,” he said. “But the only problem now is that it will be a long wait for recovery: currently six to nine months.”

Football NSW CEO John Tsatsimas said the sporting and wider communities need to reflect on the seriousness of what is happening and ensure this type of behavior does not occur again.

“This weekend we come together symbolically as one in our sport to send a message that such anti-social behavior will not be tolerated by anyone in our sport and that we stand by the officials of our sport unreservedly. ”

The Division 3 Under-8s from Hurlstone Park were among the first to make the gesture on Saturday morning, forming a guard of honor ahead of their 9.30am game at Abbotsford Juniors Football Club.

“It’s really important to show respect and keep young referees in the game,” said their coach Kieran White. “It’s a great initiative that’s really important for everyone.”

Greenacre Eagles FC have responded to the incident by withdrawing their team from Mens Premier League competition.

Starting this weekend, the Bankstown Association will be testing body cameras on referees at its men’s Premier League games.

“Once the study is underway and we have assessed its effectiveness, we will look to introduce body cameras in other competitions.” The club said in a statement, adding that footage captured by the cameras would remain the club’s property.


Sydney Football Associations have previously raised concerns about the level of abuse from referees, many of whom are teenagers.

Speak with The Sun Messenger Last year, then Canterbury FA chairman Ian Holmes claimed that West Sydney had lost around a third of their referees from the previous year; while North West Sydney Football Referees Association President Tom Emeleus said half of their first-year referees are not returning for a second season.

Justin Scaccy

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