Referee hit by fan – a reason why Uefa should have abandoned the game

Assistant referee hit by fan. A news headline you don’t want to read, but sadly you have. Swedish AR Fredrik Klyver was hit by a beer bottle, thrown by a Sturm Graz fan, and was bleeding heavily. Because of this incident the game was abandoned for half an hour, but the game continued. “It is Uefa who decides”, says Swedish referee boss Stefan Johannesson in Sportbladet. “But personally, I do not understand why they make such a decision.”

In this blog post I’ll share some thoughts on why the game still resumes. Plus you get some tips on how to handle yourself, because it’s important to take care of yourself!

NB: The assistant referee has stitches and went to the hospital after the incident. I’ve been told the Fredrik Klyver is doing okay now and he was on his way to Sweden.

Referee hit by fan

Wrong signal against violence

The fourth official has replaced Klyver after a long break. I quite like how blog Law 5 – The Ref has decribed Uefa’s decision to continue. “According to our opinion this was a very weak signal against the violence, almost an unacceptable choice, if we think to all referees who suffer such acts in amateur and minor leagues.” This is in line with acting against awful behaviour by players towards referees.

Uefa can stand up and take action against this. Because referees do need support. Violence has to stop.

The power of the referee

The referee has a say in the fact if the game continues, but it depends on who is the referee. Referee boss Stefan Johannesson explains that more experienced referees have more influence. “Mohammed (the center referee) is quite new to the international stage and then you have less to say about”, he says. “You can compare it with Anders Frisk in Rome.” In September 2004 he got hit by a coin during AS Rom vs Dynamo Kiev. “Then was an elite referee and when he said he did not want to play the match, Uefa listened.”

What you can do as (amateur) referee

“I can say this: if this happened in Sweden we would have abondoned the match”, Johanneson says. My advice to you is to do this as well. Don’t continue. And these tips by Dutch referee association COVS are also important to do:

  • ask the club secretary in violent situations or when you don’t feel safe to call the police
  • make sure the incident gets on the match report
  • report it to the police if you get assaulted/molested
  • consult a doctor if you got hit
  • take pictures of any injury
  • contact the football and referee association and ask them to support you
  • talk about it with your coach, other referees, someone at the RA, FA or organisations like Ref Support.
  • make sure admin/reports are done before the deadline

Of course I hope it doesn’t happen to you, but take good care of yourself when it does.

The video: Referee hit by fan


  • Michael V Wilks

    I hope that He has an option to sue the stadium authority for someone being in possession of a bottle in the stadium.

  • Louis

    Soccer is costing the community more and more money. The police have to present at every game. What has this still to Dr with sport? Soccer has become to the people what Rome us to have in ancient times with there gladiators. It just doesn’t make sense anymore. So although we now drive fancy cars and are all dressed up, nothing really has changed has it? If bloodshed is not enough reason to stop a game, then obviously money matters and immorality onnce again is what it is all about. Well done UEFA, you once again inspired our young people by showing them that it is ok and without consequence for you and your team to through a bottle…

  • Bradles

    I’m a referee myself and I’ve never understood abondoning the game due to fan or coach behavior (beyond refusal to leave the area*). Why punish the players and shorten their game just because some drunk idiot can’t control himself or a coach is being a wanker? Yes you should punish the perpetrator, but don’t punish the players that are out there to have a good time for the actions of people out of their control.

    *Obviously if someone that represents a danger refuses to leave you have to abandon to keep from getting hurt

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      Behaviour of a fan or coach is something different than the fact that one of the referees is hurt by someone. If you or one of your refereeing team members gets hurt, attacked, hit or whatever, that is the perfect reason to abondon the game. Players should know the safety of the referee is also very important.

  • Dr. Saulawa Aliu Ibrahim

    It is very sad to watch such a barbaric attitude from any country in the world. Football is such a darling game for everybody, for a fan to go to the extent of hit an AR with a bottle is damn to clumsy and should be accepted and is shame that the game had to be continued.
    It should be remembered that we Referees are superhuman to be able to control a game being contested by 22 people on the pitch performing under stress and an entirely changed body physiology and in addition to those on the bench and the crowd.
    Alcohol should not be allow in the stadium just because its consumption changed the thinking, mentality and action of the consumer and to safeguard the lives, health of players, officiating officials and fans alcohol should be banned from such environment.

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