(Reuters) - The decision to send off a goalkeeper who patted a rival on the backside has made Honduran football an international laughing stock, the director of first division side Marathon said on Monday.
The Oct. 12 game between Real Sociedad and Marathon was level at 1-1 when the referee awarded Real their second penalty of the match and sent off Marathon keeper Junior Morales for innocuously patting an opponent on the behind as he left the penalty box.
The linesman called the referee’s attention to what he said was aggression and after some consultation the ref awarded a spot kick.
With just minutes remaining the goalkeeper refused to leave the field, the Marathon players complained en masse and the referee abandoned the game. The Honduran FA’s disciplinary committee awarded all three points to Real Sociedad.
“It’s the strangest decision I’ve ever seen in football, it’s totally absurd,” Marathon’s director of football Rolando Pena told Reuters. “The world is laughing at us and at the referee.”
The decision, which was ratified last week by the FA’s appeals court, cost Marathon an estimated $120,000 in lost sponsorship and gate money, Pena said.
The club missed out on the league playoffs this year by two points, he added, finishing in seventh place.
The top six, including Real Sociedad in fifth place, qualify for next week’s playoffs.
Reporting by Andrew Downie; editing by Justin Palmer