May 30, 2014 6:39 pm

Exclusive: Winnipeg soccer ref beaten unconscious during game

A Winnipeg soccer referee was knocked unconscious by a player here on Thursday, May 29, 2014

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WINNIPEG- Spectators were shocked when an adult soccer match in the city turned violent.

The Galatasary United team was playing The Winnipeg Croatia squad at the Vince Leah Recreation Centre on Salter Street, Thursday night.

The referee issued a yellow card to a Croatia player, the player argued, and when the ref reached for another card, a witness says the player attacked.

Xxavier Barra, plays for The Galatasary United team.

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“As the ref was reaching in his pocket (the player) threw a punch to his lower jaw. The ref was knocked out cold. He then delivered two more kicks, one in the stomach and one in the back.”

Global News has learned a 28-year-old player was arrested on site by an off-duty police officer and held at this field house until on-duty officers arrived.

“My whole team was in shock,” said Barra. “A fan called the cops, a supporter of another game on another field.”

Police will only confirm they were called to an assault at the rec centre just after 9 o’clock Thursday.

Violence at minor hockey games dominated headlines last winter.

Charges were laid following a  brawl at the Southdale Community Centre in February and suspensions were handed out after a melee in Stonewall last March. Winnipeg parents were also banned after storming a dressing room during a tournament in Fargo in February.

The Manitoba Soccer Association will not comment on the case right now. In a statement emailed to Global News late Thursday the game’s governing body said:

“The MSA is not making any comment on this situation as it is under investigation and will be dealt by the Discipline Committee. We may make a comment when the relevant authorities complete their process.”

There’s no word on the condition of the 56-year-old referee.

Police say it’s still unclear what, if any, charges will be laid in the case.

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