In a feisty encounter between Flamengo and Vasco da Gama, match official Joao Batista de Arruda took stern refereeing to a whole new level when he showed straight red cards to four different players at once.
Although this doesn't seem to have had much of a bearing on the final score, Flamengo escaped the wrath of de Arruda as 2-1 victors, the referee at least made sure that the four red cards were distributed evenly as two players from each side benefitted from an early shower.
The match appears to have degenerated following a sly trip from a Flamengo player as Vasco de Gama attempted to hit their opponents on the break.
Although that trip alone didn't warrant a straight red card, it would appear that the ensuing brawl which involved practically all outfield players was the catalyst behind Joao Batista de Arruda's decision to dismiss four of those players at once.
Long way off record
However un-heard of it may be for a match official to send off four players at once, it would seem that Joao Batista de Arruda is still some way off breaking the record for number of players sent off in a match.
The incident in question took place after a massive brawl involving outfield players and substitutes in a Paraguayan youth game back in 2012. Fearing the situation was spiralling out of control in the aftermath of unruly brawls, referee Nestor Guillen made the somewhat comical decision to rush over and dish out a red card to each of the players who had started the fight, only for them to ignore him and continue their fight.
Within seconds their team-mates and substitutes rushed over and a huge brawl ensued, leaving referee Guillen amazed at what was going on. However, instead of trying to take control of the crazy situation, Guillen and his linesmen opted to leave the quarrelling youths to it, running to the relative safety of his dressing room. It was then decided that, as those who took part in the fighting were unable to be identified by Guillen, that he would hand red cards to every player including substitutes.
Understandably so, the decision left Teniente Farina president Hernan Martinez absolutely fuming, who accused the referee of wimping out of his duties ."The referees didn’t even stay on the field. As soon as the fighting broke out they went to the dressing room", he said.