Argentine referee César Flores has been shot dead by a player he'd just given a red card to, according to reports.
The incident is said to have taken place in Cordoba in Argentina, in Campo de la Ribera. The player is said to have received his marching orders, before going to the sidelines to retrieve a gun and firing at the 48-year-old.
A police source told Efe news agency: "It all happened during the football match. We don't know [exactly what took place], but it appears the player was angry, fetched a gun and killed him."
Unconfirmed reports from eye witnesses say the referee was shot three times; in the head, chest and neck. Another player is also said to have been hurt, but is not in a serious condition.
Argentinian football has suffered from serious incidents of violence in recent seasons, and last summer a match between Ferro and Tiro Federal had to be abandoned after the referee was knocked unconscious by a player.
The country has also been struggling to deal with growing hooliganism amongst fans, which prompted one club president to concede the battle to control the violence was lost.
“The President of the republic says those (fans) who stand on the terraces are good lads,” Velez Sarsfield president Raul Gamez said last year, citing a comment by Cristina Fernandez when a group of barras [gangs] were preparing for a government-sanctioned trip to the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.
We were good lads 50 years ago when society was different, there were others customs, drugs were not within our reach. Here the battle is lost”.
A high-profile incident occurred last month when five players were sent off during a friendly between River Plate and Boca Juniors. Referee Patricio Loustau booked nine others during the game.
More recently, a referee was attacked by Figueirense players on the final day of the Brazilian season, and had to be rescued and escorted out of the stadium by opposition Internacional players.
What can be done to help protect referees during games?
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms