August 7, 2014 10:03 am

Manitoba soccer official hopes players learn from 15-year suspension

A Winnipeg soccer referee was knocked unconscious by a player at a Vince Leah Recreation Centre game in May.


WINNIPEG – Manitoba Soccer Association executive director Hector Vergara hopes players learn from a 15-year suspension handed to a man who assaulted a referee.

Branko Dukic was banned by the association for 15 years after an assault on a referee during a May 29 game at the Vince Leah Recreation Centre.

READ MORE: Winnipeg soccer player banned for 15 years for referee assault

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Police have charged Dukic with assault causing bodily harm.

READ MORE: Winnipeg police arrest soccer player for assault on referee

“We want to see the message being sent to everybody that this kind of behavior, no matter who it is, it’s not going to be tolerated, because at the end of the day … we want to have people enjoying the game,” said Vergara, who was a FIFA referee for 19 years.

“We have to consider that in Manitoba, 80 per cent of the soccer that is played, even 90 per cent of the soccer, is recreation soccer. People play because they want to have fun.”

READ MORE: Winnipeg’s Hector Vergara earns spot in Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame

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