Tony Chapron explains why he refused to give Zlatan Ibrahimovic hat-trick ball in 2015


You may recall the name of a French referee named Tony Chapron.

He was the match official who made headlines across the world back in January for kicking out at Nantes defender Diego Carlos during a Ligue 1 fixture against Paris Saint-Germain.

Chapron reacted by swinging a boot at Carlos, who’d collided with the ref moments earlier. He then sent the defender off for good measure.

The French Football Federation banned him for six months. Chapron subsequently decided to end his refereeing career.

"I didn't want to kick him," he told the BBC's World Football Podcast this week. "It's a pity because I finished my career on this game, on this situation. It's difficult to accept after being a referee for 1,500 matches because in the moment it was just reflex.

"I'm a human and I felt a pain and I was scared. I was tired. It was not aggressive.

"I just fell down, someone pushed me and as a reflex I put my foot out and said, 'Hey guy, take care!'

"In fact, the reaction of the players and the coaches was, 'OK, this guy made a mistake, so what?'

"But for the media and social media it was a big affair. Because the referee should not act like this and I agree and apologise for my reaction."

After the video of Chapron kicking out at Carlos went viral, it emerged that the referee had been involved in another unusual incident involving Zlatan Ibrahimovic a few years earlier.

Zlatan scored a hat-trick for PSG against Lorient in March 2015 and approached Chapron to receive the match ball after the final whistle.

Chapron, however, refused to give it to the Swedish striker.

Ibra was understandably furious, although later posted on Instagram showing that he’d eventually managed to take the ball home.

Chapron, in his interview with the BBC this week, has now explained his reasons for refusing to give Zlatan the hat-trick ball.

"He arrived close to me he just clicked his fingers and said; 'The ball!'" Chapron said.

"I have four daughters and when we're together and they ask something, if we don't have the word 'please' at the end of the sentence, there is no reaction.

"So, it's the same, it's a kind of education. I think it was a kind of disrespect. There is something wrong with society if we forget the simple things such as 'please' and 'thank you'.

"It was the beginning of the Ibrahimovic show, because nobody says no to Zlatan. I was probably the only one."


Fair play to the guy. Zlatan might be a superstar footballer, but that doesn’t mean he can be rude to referees.

Chapron had every right to stand his ground and refuse to bow to Zlatan’s blunt demand.

"He is a very annoying guy, Zlatan Ibrahimovic," Chapron added. "Not only with referees, he was always blaming his team-mates, always trying to cause some trouble with the opponents.


"He was a crazy guy. I think he's a fantastic player, but on the pitch he's someone else. And it was very difficult as a referee.

"I hope for him that he's a kind of actor, because he says so many things, crazy things, I hope he doesn't think what he says."

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