A soccer referee in Utah recreational league is in critical condition after being punched in the face, right after issuing a yellow card. The player was a 17-year old who has now been placed in a juvenile detention facility. The referee went to the hospital afterward, where doctors discovered “serious internal head injuries.” The man has been hospitalized since Saturday.
The investigating officer, Lieutenant Justin Hoyal, said that there was no buildup prior to the incident. According to Hoyal, the player went outside the rules and “[i]t was almost an instinctive reaction.” The CEO of the Utah Youth Soccer Association said this was an unsanctioned league not affiliated with their organization.