Sickening scenes in the Federal B this weekend as referee Claudio Elichiri was lynched by a mob of Sarmiento de Ayacucho supporters following his decision not to award the side a penalty and subsequently sent off a player for his protests.
The match was abandoned after the players surrounded Elichiri and in the absence of any police it was then left to the same group to try and protect the official from a vicious assault by supporters.
The Federal B clash between Sarmiento de Ayacucho and Sansinena was 1-1 when the flash point occurred. One of the Sarmiento players was tripped in the penalty area but Elichiri waved play on allowing Sansinena to break resulting in a goal at the other end.
The enraged Sarmiento players surrounded the referee and the situation rapidly spiralled out of control. Amid the insults and physical assault, Elichiri sent off showed red cards to several players and eventually suspended the game.
This decision prompted a large group of supporters to invade the pitch and attack the official, punching him several times in the face as he desperately tried to escape. Sarmiento’s players attempted to protect Elichiri but were somewhat helpless against the crowd.
Speaking to radio show Buena Gente, Elichiri has said: “I can barely move my lips,” began the referee.
“It was unexpected. I sent off a player for insulting me, then another one hits me from behind and everything happened from there.
“The first to hit me were the Sarmiento players. There were a lot of people and very few police and I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t know what to do, I cannot believe it.
“It’s the first time something like this happens to me… Everything is wrong, society is wrong.
“I do not live from refereeing, I have a little construction construction with my father. I love to referee and I will continue to do it; these are things that make you stronger.
“Until I submit the report I can’t say anything about the perpetrators of the aggression but I needed four stitches below my left eye.
I hope this is over once and for all. You have to cut this, and punish those who have to be punished.
There has to be a stiff penalty. When I got to my house, I hugged my wife and cried. I never thought this was going to happen to me.”