MOSCOW Chechen linesman Musa Kadyrov was banned for life on Monday after assaulting a player in a Russian league football match.
The incident occurred at the end of Sunday's reserve game in Grozny between Amkar Perm and local side Terek when a raging Kadyrov dropped his flag and ran on to the pitch, attacking startled Amkar defender Ilya Krichmar.
"The ref blew the final whistle and I started walking to our bench when suddenly someone came from behind, pushed me to the ground and began kicking and punching me," the 18-year-old player told reporters.
"Terek players then joined the attack. Someone grabbed me by the throat, another hit me...bloodying my face.
"Thank God, my team mates came to the rescue. Special thanks to Vlasov from Terek. We had known each other from a youth academy in St Petersburg and he helped me escape."
Local authorities took swift action.
"He has only worked on a regional level but we made a decision to ban him for life, therefore he won't be able to officiate matches at any level," Chechen football chief Lom-Ali Ibragimov was quoted as saying by local outlet R-Sport.
The Russian players' union (RSFT) appealed to the Russian FA (RFU) to impose sanctions on Chechen club Terek.
"We feel just banning Kadyrov is not enough. The RFU must take a much tougher stance on this because assaults on players have become an almost regular occurrence in Grozny," RSFT general secretary Nikolai Grammatikov told Reuters.
"We think preventing Terek to host reserve matches in Grozny for a year should teach Chechen authorities a lesson, otherwise it is just going to get worse and worse."
Sunday's incident was the second violent attack on a player in a reserve game in Grozny in the past 18 months.
Krasnodar striker Spartak Gogniyev suffered a broken nose and fractured ribs after being attacked by Terek officials at a reserve game in Grozny in November 2011.
Gogniyev was given a six-game ban and fined $1,600 by the Russian FA for pushing the referee. The world players' union FIFPro criticised the decision to punish the player.
Kadyrov said Krichmar had insulted him but the player denied the allegation.
"We weren't happy with the officiating, words had been exchanged but I had never said anything personal about him or his mother," he said. "I know how sensitive Chechen people are."
Former FIFA referee Alexei Spirin, who was working as an assessor of Sunday's match, was shocked by the episode.
"In all my refereeing career I have never seen anything like it. This guy should not be a referee," Spirin said.
"He had no clue about rules, even worse, attacked a player. On a scale of one to 10, I'd give him a zero and I'm writing a special report. He should not be allowed to officiate again."
Krichmar was asked if he would attend the Russian Cup final in Grozny on June 1 if invited by Chechen officials.
"No, I would not go. I could still feel some hatred there after the (Chechen) war, although we had no problem with security in Grozny," Krichmar said. "We always had bodyguards with machine guns around us. The food was good as well, but..."
(Editing by Clare Fallon)