Footballer banned for 70 matches for sickening assault on referee

Baku, September 7 (AZERTAC). A footballer in Austria has been slapped with one of the longest suspensions in the history of the game: 70 matches.

When you hear the circumstances, however, the punishment meted out to Ismail Gunduz of fifth-division side SK Rum may not seem so draconian.

Gunduz had been given his marching orders for a second yellow card in the 86th minute of the match against SPLG Innsbruck, which SK Rum were actually leading 3-2 at the time.

Incensed, Gunduz turned to the referee and headbutted him - a blow so severe that the referee's lip burst open, pouring blood, forcing the match to be suspended as the official was taken to hospital.

As well as the suspension, a local paper called the Tiroler Tageszeitung reports that 26-year-old player was also sacked by SK Rum, while his club was fined 257 euros.

The player claimed that the punishment meted out to him is "madness", and claims that he will appeal on the grounds that it was a "misunderstanding", that he merely slipped.

If the excuses reminded you of a certain Uruguayan by the name of Luis Suarez, then it certainly puts the Barcelona striker's punishment into perspective.

Needless to say, the local footballing authorities laughed off what we might dub the 'Suarez defence' and decided to throw the book at the player.

"The 70-match suspension is without precedent as far as we know, but it seemed proportionate to us given the gravity of the offence," said Horst Scherl, head of the Tyrolean FA's disciplinary commission.

It does indeed, Herr Scherl. A couple of seasons banned from the game actually sounds relatively lenient considering that Gunduz was lucky not to end up in prison for his actions.

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