Referee who was attacked in an amateur game in London says he now fears being ‘MURDERED on pitch’

A shocking assault of an amateur referee has led to fears a match official will end up being killed in grassroots football.

Satyam Toki required treatment from an ambulance crew after he was punched three times in the face by a player he sent off in a pre-season friendly on Sunday.

The 28-year-old, who has a one-month old daughter, says he was lucky not to be left blind or brain damaged and is now ‘scared to referee again’ following the incident, which was filmed and shared on social media and has been investigated by police.

Satyam Toki (pictured) was assaulted during a pre-season match he was refereeing on Sunday and suffered a nasty cut above his left eye having been punched three times

Toki had sent the player off and was then attacked with team-mates forced to intervene

Toki had sent the player off and was then attacked with team-mates forced to intervene

Toki has told Sportsmail he is pressing charges against his attacker – who is a newly-qualified teacher – because next time he ‘might bring a knife and murder a referee on the pitch’.

And that decision has been backed by referee groups, the Referees’ Association and Ref Support UK, who have both warned that an official will lose their life on the job unless they receive greater protection and offenders are handed tougher punishments.

In just the second weekend since amateur football resumed following the Covid-19 lockdown, Toki was taking charge of a friendly between NW London FC – who play in the 11th-tier Middlesex Premier Division – and Sporting Club de Mundial, a Hackney Sunday League side formed by football magazine, Mundial.

But the match in Acton, West London was abandoned after only 42 minutes when the level-five Indian-born referee suffered a bloodied eye after he was repeatedly struck by a Mundial player.

Toki had initially shown him a yellow card for dissent, an offence which leads to a 10-minute sin bin in grassroots, but then upgraded it to a red after the player threatened him.

‘I sent him off and then everything kicked off,’ says Toki, who works as a train conductor and, until this weekend, had ambitions to referee in the Football League. ‘He lost his temper and attacked me, punching me three times on my face. He tried to attack me again but some of the players stopped him. He then ran away from the ground.

The incident is by no means an isolated one and many referees have experienced abuse

The incident is by no means an isolated one and many referees have experienced abuse

The match was abandoned and Toki is scared to step onto the pitch and officiate again

The match was abandoned and Toki is scared to step onto the pitch and officiate again

‘I had excessive bleeding above my left eye. He was wearing a bracelet on his right hand. That was my mistake because I should have checked for jewellery before the match. But when he punched me, he caught me with the metal thing on his wrist. He hit me with something very sharp.

‘The manager of the home team and I called 999 for the police and someone else called for an ambulance. Thankfully I didn’t have a serious injury but he could have easily caught me in the eye and then I don’t know what would have happened.

‘My wife told me that I got away very lightly. She said, “What if you suffered loss of vision or serious brain damage – how could my family have survived?”.

‘I have been refereeing for six years, it is my hobby. But I am really scared to go out and referee again. I am still shocked from the incident.

‘I can’t believe this kind of thing can happen in football, especially in a friendly. I am still imagining what would have happened to me if this was a league game with something riding on it.

‘My family are concerned about my welfare and they don’t want me to go and referee again. I would now think 10 times to go back out there.

Toki feels he had to press charges on his attacker as he owes it to his fellow referees

Toki feels he had to press charges on his attacker as he owes it to his fellow referees 

‘I am paid £40 a match but no amount of money is worth it to go out there and get serious injuries and be disabled for the rest of your life.’

Toki was initially reluctant to press charges, saying he was ‘influenced’ by the police, who informed him his attacker was a teacher and would lose his job. But after seeking advice from fellow referees on social media, he feels he owes it to his colleagues to take further action.

‘If I don’t press charges, this individual would get away and tomorrow, who knows, he might bring a knife and murder a referee on the pitch,’ adds Toki.

‘He should be punished as much as possible as a lesson for every other individual just to think before doing this sort of action. Every team should have respect for someone refereeing their game because if there is no referee, they won’t be playing their game.’

In a statement, Mundial said: ‘We categorically condemn the horrific actions by one of our players towards the referee. The individual involved has been completely removed from the football club.’

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson confirmed: ‘Police were called at 15:16hrs on Sunday, 9 August, to reports of an assault at a sports club in East Acton Lane, W3. Officers and London Ambulance Service attended. Following initial enquiries, no allegations were substantiated.’

One player had his hands on his head in disbelief at the shocking incident in the game

One player had his hands on his head in disbelief at the shocking incident in the game

Sadly, Sunday’s incident was not an isolated one with footage emerging on the same day from another game in London when a referee was kicked on the floor and surrounded by players.

In their most-recently released figures, the FA said there were just 61 assaults on officials in the 2017-18 season. But those statistics only include attacks that were reported and then proven at a hearing.

In a recent study by the University of Portsmouth, 18.9 per cent of the 2,056 referees that were questioned in England said they had experienced physical abuse on the pitch.

‘We really do believe that, unfortunately, someone will be murdered as a match official,’ says Martin Cassidy, a former Football League referee and now chief executive of charity Ref Support UK, who has been helping Toki. ‘If that happens, we will be holding to account those people who we believe are responsible for not bringing in stronger punishments.’

In 2017, the FA introduced a mandatory five-year ban for anyone who assaults a match official, which can be extended to 10 years if it causes serious injury. For physical contact or attempted physical contact, a 182-day suspension is recommended, with a minimum of 112 days.

Cassidy, though, thinks referees should wear body cameras to enhance their protection and be able to prove offences – but those devices are currently outlawed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game’s rule makers.

‘We think it is irresponsible not to even have a pilot of body cams,’ adds Cassidy, who is considering challenging that IFAB rule at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. ‘I am starting to believe that they will only entertain a pilot if a match official is killed.’

The 28-year-old has a young daughter and feels lucky he wasn't blinded or brain damaged

The 28-year-old has a young daughter and feels lucky he wasn’t blinded or brain damaged 

The Referees’ Association are campaigning for tougher criminal sentences and have written to the Sentencing Council to suggest changes to their guidelines – a submission which has won the support of 50 MPs.

When sentencing for assaults, an aggravating factor that a court must consider is if the offence was committed against those ‘providing a service to the public’. Currently, however, this covers offences against the likes of shop workers and traffic wardens, but not referees, leading to some lenient sentencing.

In 2018, amateur footballer Luke Nicholls avoided jail despite knocking out referee Henry Ifesi, while one year earlier, Kieran Kimberley was also spared prison after headbutting official Craig Ward.

‘One day, we will be speaking about a referee being killed,’ Referees’ Association chairman Paul Field tells Sportsmail. ‘All the warning signs are here for it to happen and we have to do something about it.

‘This is all about prevention. The work we are doing with the Sentencing Council is all about having a proper deterrent to support match officials.

‘There needs to be an upgrade on how offenders are sentenced. The next level up would put us on parity with a traffic or park warden. We are doing our lawful duty and we don’t expect on a Sunday morning to be attacked.

‘The incident on Sunday was just disgraceful. Football has been waiting to restart for months and here we are in the second week with an assault. It beggar’s belief.

‘The FA has done as much as they can but there needs to be a real deterrent which sits behind it. It is time the Government stepped up to the plate and that the courts supported match officials.’

An FA spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of an incident that took place during a pre-season game on Sunday and we are working with London FA to provide support and ensure it is thoroughly investigated. Supporting match officials, at every level of the game, remains a key priority for The FA and for each of the 50 County FAs around the country as part of The FA’s Respect campaign.’ 

Plans to use Community Shield as test event for the return of fans to stadiums is OFF

Plans to use Community Shield as test event for the return of fans to stadiums ABANDONED with the FA accepting it is no longer feasible amid uncertainty over coronavirus outbreaks

  • Community Shield was earmarked as the first match that fans could attend 
  • However, those plans have been abandoned after other pilots were cancelled
  • FA have accepted it’s no longer feasible to use as a test event for return of fans

The FA have abandoned plans to use the Community Shield as a test event for the return of fans to stadiums due to uncertainty over Covid-19 outbreaks.

The Liverpool versus Arsenal match at Wembley on August 29 was put forward as the first football match for fans since lockdown in March, an idea to which the Government were initially receptive.

But after other pilots involving county cricket, racing and snooker were cancelled earlier this month, the governing body have accepted that it is no longer feasible.

Community Shield was earmarked as pilot event for fans to attend but those plans are now off

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will update their guidance for sport after the Government’s review of the localised North West lockdown on August 15.

But even if they permit pilot events, the FA believe there will be insufficient time to organise an event of that scale.

In addition to the complexity of sorting out ticketing and security, the cost of allowing just a few thousand fans to attend the game at Wembley is understood to be prohibitive.

Goodwood racecourse had been licensed to admit 5,000 members to the final day of Glorious Goodwood on August 1 before the Government U-turned a day before. 

The next round of test events is likely to involve a similar number, rather than the one-quarter capacity – around 22,500 – the FA were hoping to see at Wembley.

FA were hoping to see around 22,500 people at Wembley but have accepted it's not feasible

FA were hoping to see around 22,500 people at Wembley but have accepted it’s not feasible

Premier League Fantasy Football winner sent racist messages about Raheem Sterling resulting in DQ

The Premier League have disqualified the original winner of their 2019-20 Fantasy game, with reports stating his fantasy team was deleted for racist messages about Raheem Sterling sent in a private Facebook chat. 

Bulgarian player Aleksandar Antonov, who has a YouTube channel on Fantasy football called TooGoodFPL, was announced as the winner following the final round of Premier League games on July 26, finishing 18 points clear of second-placed Joshua Bull. 

Yet the Premier League confirmed that Antonov has ‘been removed from FPL due to a breach of our terms’, and the Bulgarian touched on the nature of why he was disqualified in a YouTube video on Tuesday afternoon – but did not go initially go into specifics. 

Sportsmail contacted the Premier League for clarification on why the original winner was removed from the game, and the reported insult against Sterling, but they refused to comment and did not elaborate on Tuesday morning’s statement.  

However, the original winner's team simply showed as deleted after the update to the standings

Aleksandar Antonov had been disqualified from Fantasy Premier League on Tuesday morning

It means cancer researcher Joshua Bull has won the popular game for the 2019-20 season

It means cancer researcher Joshua Bull has won the popular game for the 2019-20 season

It is believed that Antonov was disqualified for racist statements made against Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling

It is believed that Antonov was disqualified for racist statements made against Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling

FPL 1ST PLACE PRIZES 

  • 7-night break in the UK including VIP hospitality at two 2020/21 Premier League matches
  • A week’s worth of experiences at popular tourist attractions courtesy of Visit Britain
  • Includes travel and 7 nights’ accommodation
  • TAG Heuer connected watch
  • Copy of FIFA 20 and a games console
  • Nike manager jacket
  • FPL goody bag consisting of a rucksack, t-shirt, mug, water bottle, stress ball, pen, pad and key ring

NB: Prizes were announced before the coronavirus outbreak

‘Somehow, and in some way, things that I said in a private Facebook messenger chat with five of my friends found its way to the EPL (English Premier League),’ Antonov says in his YouTube statement. 

‘In response the EPL decided to exercise their right and remove me as the winner and to annul my points for the season. 

‘To clarify, what we write in our chats is football banter. And for sure it’s not something different generally from football banter chats…

‘The reason for my disqualification is a moment of frustration with a player put into words, written between friends – it was never meant to offend any footballer on any basis.

‘I was disqualified from the season because something was taken out of context to a large extent, from a small Bulgarian private chat by a person that certainly doesn’t wish me well in life and made me look like something I’m not to the EPL.’  

After the video statement, Antonov also tweeted in response to users on Twitter, via his handle @TooGoodFPL: ‘Can I just say quickly…I am not racist. OK, that’s all I had to say, bye.

‘Not saying the reason is racism, but the person that reported me for whatever he did, has said the exact same type of stuff in front of me when watching football together. You are giving way too much credit to sore losers… He is only standing up for his hurt ego.

‘The behaviour was explained to the EPL in two pages and I respect their decision. As I said in the video, I would never say anything like that to a player with the intend to offend them, it’s a small chat with friends, in a different language and different culture.’

However, later that evening Antonov took to Twitter once again to reveal that his expulsion was due to comments about Sterling – although he stressed they were not meant to come across as racist.

‘Hey, I know loads out there will say this is too little, too late. I didn’t give an explanation on this since I did not want to go in more specific reasons … but I guess I have to do it. Also a lot of people seemed to think I have to apologize [sic] so I will try to cover this too,’ he wrote.

‘The specific wording in question are some offensive words about an EPL player in combination with the word “neger4e”. Of course the problem here is the last word used even though I am more ashamed and sorry for the rest.

‘I admitted this is a mean comment worthy of disqualification. However, it is hard to explain to English speaking people why I never meant it to be a racist comment. The word “negyr” in Bulgarian does not have nearly the same connotation as the N word in English.

‘I have never used the N word to anyone English-speaking or of black color [sic] in Bulgaria. I have never intend to cause any racial harm to anyone, EPL players included, and up to now I have never done so. It may sound stupid, but I actually really don’t condone racist behavior [sic]… and this is not just for black people but all other races, from which I have had many friends especially when living in the UK. I do have to apologize [sic] to anyone that has taken as an offense against them or their friends on racial basis. I understand why this is.

‘I can say also that what I wrote was never intended in this way, that I am sorry about talking in an inappropriate manner about EPL players (including to the player himself, but surely not players of non-white ethnicity only) and that I don’t condone aggressive racist behavior [sic].

‘All this has taught me a harsh lesson and I hope it is a harsh lesson to others like me as we can see people don’t accept this kind of stuff even when the intend to do harm is not there and it is just a chat between friends thousands of kilometers [sic] away.

‘For those that have been following me, you know I have never showed any discriminatory/racial behavior [sic], I try to help everyone and will continue to do so. Yes I could have pretended this is not me and may have avoided all this, but I deserve my punishment from EPL and from you.’

City forward Sterling, 26, was part of the England side which played Bulgaria in Sofia in October 2019, when play was stopped twice due to racist behaviour from home supporters including Nazi salutes and monkey chanting. 

The game did finish, with England winning 6-0 and Sterling scoring twice in the Euro 2020 qualifier, but Bulgaria have since been ordered to play two matches behind closed doors as a punishment from UEFA, with one suspended for two years. 

Earlier in the day, in response to a query on social media as to whether he had multiple teams and that was the reason he was disqualified, Antonov said: ‘This is an easy one – no, I did not try to cheat in a game I play for fun. 

‘For more, tune in tonight, have a dayjob after all. Joshua Bull, congrats (sic) on the win. Not the way you wanted to win it, not the way I wanted to lose it.’  

Meanwhile Bull, an Oxford University cancer researcher, could not hide his shock and excitement at being named as the official winner of Fantasy Premier League 2019-20, played by 7.6 million people.  

New winner Joshua Bull reacted with shock after being announced as this season's champion

New winner Joshua Bull reacted with shock after being announced as this season’s champion

‘Wow, so it looks like the longest FPL season is getting even longer…’ he began on his Twitter page on Tuesday morning. 

‘For everyone tweeting, I don’t know what’s going on either – I had an email from FPL this morning telling me that I’ve won(!), but I don’t know why… 

‘And to address the obvious – clearly this isn’t how I would have wanted to win, and I don’t know any more than the rest of you about what’s happened!’

Rather comically, Bull has also updated his Twitter bio to include: ‘#FPL OR 1? 2? Your guess is as good as mine?’

The updated standings also means World chess champion Magnus Carlsen finishes in the top-10 worldwide, 42 points behind new winner Bull.  

The new standings means World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has finished in the top-10

The new standings means World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has finished in the top-10

Premier League Fantasy Football winner ‘sent racist messages about Raheem Sterling’ resulting in DQ

The Premier League have disqualified the original winner of their 2019-20 Fantasy game, with reports stating his fantasy team was deleted for ‘racist messages about Raheem Sterling’ sent in a private Facebook chat. 

Bulgarian player Aleksandar Antonov, who has a YouTube channel on Fantasy football called TooGoodFPL, was announced as the winner following the final round of Premier League games on July 26, finishing 18 points clear of second-placed Joshua Bull. 

Yet the Premier League confirmed that Antonov has ‘been removed from FPL due to a breach of our terms’, and the Bulgarian touched on the nature of why he was disqualified in a YouTube video on Tuesday afternoon – but did not go into specifics. A report from Bulgarian news website Gong.bg however states that it was for ‘racist statements made against the Manchester City striker Sterling.’

Sportsmail contacted the Premier League for clarification on why the original winner was removed from the game, and the reported insult against Sterling, but they refused to comment and did not elaborate on Tuesday morning’s statement.  

However, the original winner's team simply showed as deleted after the update to the standings

Aleksandar Antonov had been disqualified from Fantasy Premier League on Tuesday morning

It means cancer researcher Joshua Bull has won the popular game for the 2019-20 season

It means cancer researcher Joshua Bull has won the popular game for the 2019-20 season

Reports from Bulgaria state that Antonov was disqualified for 'racist statements made against Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling'

Reports from Bulgaria state that Antonov was disqualified for ‘racist statements made against Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling’ 

FPL 1ST PLACE PRIZES 

  • 7-night break in the UK including VIP hospitality at two 2020/21 Premier League matches
  • A week’s worth of experiences at popular tourist attractions courtesy of Visit Britain
  • Includes travel and 7 nights’ accommodation
  • TAG Heuer connected watch
  • Copy of FIFA 20 and a games console
  • Nike manager jacket
  • FPL goody bag consisting of a rucksack, t-shirt, mug, water bottle, stress ball, pen, pad and key ring

NB: Prizes were announced before the coronavirus outbreak

‘Somehow, and in some way, things that I said in a private Facebook messenger chat with five of my friends found its way to the EPL (English Premier League),’ Antonov says in his YouTube statement. 

‘In response the EPL decided to exercise their right and remove me as the winner and to annul my points for the season. 

‘To clarify, what we write in our chats is football banter. And for sure it’s not something different generally from football banter chats…

‘The reason for my disqualification is a moment of frustration with a player put into words, written between friends – it was never meant to offend any footballer on any basis.

‘I was disqualified from the season because something was taken out of context to a large extent, from a small Bulgarian private chat by a person that certainly doesn’t wish me well in life and made me look like something I’m not to the EPL.’  

After the video statement, Antonov also tweeted in response to users on Twitter, via his handle @TooGoodFPL: ‘Can I just say quickly…I am not racist. OK, that’s all I had to say, bye.

‘Not saying the reason is racism, but the person that reported me for whatever he did, has said the exact same type of stuff in front of me when watching football together. You are giving way too much credit to sore losers… He is only standing up for his hurt ego.

‘The behaviour was explained to the EPL in two pages and I respect their decision. As I said in the video, I would never say anything like that to a player with the intend to offend them, it’s a small chat with friends, in a different language and different culture.’

City forward Sterling, 26, was part of the England side which played Bulgaria in Sofia in October 2019, when play was stopped twice due to racist behaviour from home supporters including Nazi salutes and monkey chanting. 

The game did finish, with England winning 6-0 and Sterling scoring twice in the Euro 2020 qualifier, but Bulgaria have since been ordered to play two matches behind closed doors as a punishment from UEFA, with one suspended for two years. 

Earlier in the day, in response to a query on social media as to whether he had multiple teams and that was the reason he was disqualified, Antonov said: ‘This is an easy one – no, I did not try to cheat in a game I play for fun. 

‘For more, tune in tonight, have a dayjob after all. Joshua Bull, congrats (sic) on the win. Not the way you wanted to win it, not the way I wanted to lose it.’  

Meanwhile Bull, an Oxford University cancer researcher, could not hide his shock and excitement at being named as the official winner of Fantasy Premier League 2019-20, played by 7.6 million people.  

New winner Joshua Bull reacted with shock after being announced as this season's champion

New winner Joshua Bull reacted with shock after being announced as this season’s champion

‘Wow, so it looks like the longest FPL season is getting even longer…’ he began on his Twitter page on Tuesday morning. 

‘For everyone tweeting, I don’t know what’s going on either – I had an email from FPL this morning telling me that I’ve won(!), but I don’t know why… 

‘And to address the obvious – clearly this isn’t how I would have wanted to win, and I don’t know any more than the rest of you about what’s happened!’

Rather comically, Bull has also updated his Twitter bio to include: ‘#FPL OR 1? 2? Your guess is as good as mine?’

The updated standings also means World chess champion Magnus Carlsen finishes in the top-10 worldwide, 42 points behind new winner Bull.  

The new standings means World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has finished in the top-10

The new standings means World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has finished in the top-10

Referee who was attacked in an amateur game in London says he now fears being ‘MURDERED on pitch’

A shocking assault of an amateur referee has led to fears a match official will end up being killed in grassroots football.

Satyam Toki required treatment from an ambulance crew after he was punched three times in the face by a player he sent off in a pre-season friendly on Sunday.

The 28-year-old, who has a one-month old daughter, says he was lucky not to be left blind or brain damaged and is now ‘scared to referee again’ following the incident, which was filmed and shared on social media and has been investigated by police.

Satyam Toki (pictured) was assaulted during a pre-season match he was refereeing on Sunday and suffered a nasty cut above his left eye having been punched three times

Toki had sent the player off and was then attacked with team-mates forced to intervene

Toki had sent the player off and was then attacked with team-mates forced to intervene

Toki has told Sportsmail he is pressing charges against his attacker – who is a newly-qualified teacher – because next time he ‘might bring a knife and murder a referee on the pitch’.

And that decision has been backed by referee groups, the Referees’ Association and Ref Support UK, who have both warned that an official will lose their life on the job unless they receive greater protection and offenders are handed tougher punishments.

In just the second weekend since amateur football resumed following the Covid-19 lockdown, Toki was taking charge of a friendly between NW London FC – who play in the 11th-tier Middlesex Premier Division – and Sporting Club de Mundial, a Hackney Sunday League side formed by football magazine, Mundial.

But the match in Acton, West London was abandoned after only 42 minutes when the level-five Indian-born referee suffered a bloodied eye after he was repeatedly struck by a Mundial player.

Toki had initially shown him a yellow card for dissent, an offence which leads to a 10-minute sin bin in grassroots, but then upgraded it to a red after the player threatened him.

‘I sent him off and then everything kicked off,’ says Toki, who works as a train conductor and, until this weekend, had ambitions to referee in the Football League. ‘He lost his temper and attacked me, punching me three times on my face. He tried to attack me again but some of the players stopped him. He then ran away from the ground.

The incident is by no means an isolated one and many referees have experienced abuse

The incident is by no means an isolated one and many referees have experienced abuse

The match was abandoned and Toki is scared to step onto the pitch and officiate again

The match was abandoned and Toki is scared to step onto the pitch and officiate again

‘I had excessive bleeding above my left eye. He was wearing a bracelet on his right hand. That was my mistake because I should have checked for jewellery before the match. But when he punched me, he caught me with the metal thing on his wrist. He hit me with something very sharp.

‘The manager of the home team and I called 999 for the police and someone else called for an ambulance. Thankfully I didn’t have a serious injury but he could have easily caught me in the eye and then I don’t know what would have happened.

‘My wife told me that I got away very lightly. She said, “What if you suffered loss of vision or serious brain damage – how could my family have survived?”.

‘I have been refereeing for six years, it is my hobby. But I am really scared to go out and referee again. I am still shocked from the incident.

‘I can’t believe this kind of thing can happen in football, especially in a friendly. I am still imagining what would have happened to me if this was a league game with something riding on it.

‘My family are concerned about my welfare and they don’t want me to go and referee again. I would now think 10 times to go back out there.

Toki feels he had to press charges on his attacker as he owes it to his fellow referees

Toki feels he had to press charges on his attacker as he owes it to his fellow referees 

‘I am paid £40 a match but no amount of money is worth it to go out there and get serious injuries and be disabled for the rest of your life.’

Toki was initially reluctant to press charges, saying he was ‘influenced’ by the police, who informed him his attacker was a teacher and would lose his job. But after seeking advice from fellow referees on social media, he feels he owes it to his colleagues to take further action.

‘If I don’t press charges, this individual would get away and tomorrow, who knows, he might bring a knife and murder a referee on the pitch,’ adds Toki.

‘He should be punished as much as possible as a lesson for every other individual just to think before doing this sort of action. Every team should have respect for someone refereeing their game because if there is no referee, they won’t be playing their game.’

In a statement, Mundial said: ‘We categorically condemn the horrific actions by one of our players towards the referee. The individual involved has been completely removed from the football club.’

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson confirmed: ‘Police were called at 15:16hrs on Sunday, 9 August, to reports of an assault at a sports club in East Acton Lane, W3. Officers and London Ambulance Service attended. Following initial enquiries, no allegations were substantiated.’

One player had his hands on his head in disbelief at the shocking incident in the game

One player had his hands on his head in disbelief at the shocking incident in the game

Sadly, Sunday’s incident was not an isolated one with footage emerging on the same day from another game in London when a referee was kicked on the floor and surrounded by players.

In their most-recently released figures, the FA said there were just 61 assaults on officials in the 2017-18 season. But those statistics only include attacks that were reported and then proven at a hearing.

In a recent study by the University of Portsmouth, 18.9 per cent of the 2,056 referees that were questioned in England said they had experienced physical abuse on the pitch.

‘We really do believe that, unfortunately, someone will be murdered as a match official,’ says Martin Cassidy, a former Football League referee and now chief executive of charity Ref Support UK, who has been helping Toki. ‘If that happens, we will be holding to account those people who we believe are responsible for not bringing in stronger punishments.’

In 2017, the FA introduced a mandatory five-year ban for anyone who assaults a match official, which can be extended to 10 years if it causes serious injury. For physical contact or attempted physical contact, a 182-day suspension is recommended, with a minimum of 112 days.

Cassidy, though, thinks referees should wear body cameras to enhance their protection and be able to prove offences – but those devices are currently outlawed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game’s rule makers.

‘We think it is irresponsible not to even have a pilot of body cams,’ adds Cassidy, who is considering challenging that IFAB rule at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. ‘I am starting to believe that they will only entertain a pilot if a match official is killed.’

The 28-year-old has a young daughter and feels lucky he wasn't blinded or brain damaged

The 28-year-old has a young daughter and feels lucky he wasn’t blinded or brain damaged 

The Referees’ Association are campaigning for tougher criminal sentences and have written to the Sentencing Council to suggest changes to their guidelines – a submission which has won the support of 50 MPs.

When sentencing for assaults, an aggravating factor that a court must consider is if the offence was committed against those ‘providing a service to the public’. Currently, however, this covers offences against the likes of shop workers and traffic wardens, but not referees, leading to some lenient sentencing.

In 2018, amateur footballer Luke Nicholls avoided jail despite knocking out referee Henry Ifesi, while one year earlier, Kieran Kimberley was also spared prison after headbutting official Craig Ward.

‘One day, we will be speaking about a referee being killed,’ Referees’ Association chairman Paul Field tells Sportsmail. ‘All the warning signs are here for it to happen and we have to do something about it.

‘This is all about prevention. The work we are doing with the Sentencing Council is all about having a proper deterrent to support match officials.

‘There needs to be an upgrade on how offenders are sentenced. The next level up would put us on parity with a traffic or park warden. We are doing our lawful duty and we don’t expect on a Sunday morning to be attacked.

‘The incident on Sunday was just disgraceful. Football has been waiting to restart for months and here we are in the second week with an assault. It beggar’s belief.

‘The FA has done as much as they can but there needs to be a real deterrent which sits behind it. It is time the Government stepped up to the plate and that the courts supported match officials.’

An FA spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of an incident that took place during a pre-season game on Sunday and we are working with London FA to provide support and ensure it is thoroughly investigated. Supporting match officials, at every level of the game, remains a key priority for The FA and for each of the 50 County FAs around the country as part of The FA’s Respect campaign.’ 

Celtic apologise for Boli Bolingoli’s ‘irresponsible stupidity’ after he broke quarantine rules 

Nicola Sturgeon has issued Scotland’s football clubs with a final warning following Celtic defender’s Boli Bolingoli breached Covid-19 protocols by taking an unauthorised trip to Spain.

Scotland’s First Minister said she ‘doesn’t expect’ Celtic or Aberdeen’s Premiership matches this week to go ahead as scheduled.

But she stopped short of cancelling the competition outright just two matches into the campaign.

‘Consider today the yellow card, next time it will be the red card,’ Sturgeon said. 

The Scottish football season could be halted after Boli Bolingoli (left) travelled to Spain – he was introduced as a substitute in Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock on Sunday

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

Celtic boss Neil Lennon - who was unaware of the trip - played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Celtic boss Neil Lennon – who was unaware of the trip – played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Bolingoli’s breach of the rules came after two Aberdeen players tested positive for coronavirus after they visited a city centre restaurant following their defeat to Rangers last Saturday. 

The Dons’ game against St Johnstone was called off at the weekend and their home match against Hamilton Academical, scheduled for Wednesday night, and Saturday’s visit to Celtic now look set to follow.

Celtic are also set to play St Mirren away from home on Wednesday evening. 

Sturgeon added: ‘I think my frustration about the Aberdeen Football Club situation was pretty palpable.

‘Every day I am asking members of the public to make huge sacrifices to how they live their lives and the vast majority are doing this and it isn’t easy.

‘We can’t have privileged football players just deciding they are not going to bother. This can’t go on.

‘We have given the football authorities the opportunity to tell us how they’re going to put their house in order.

‘I don’t want the season to be in jeopardy but we have to be very clear this situation is not acceptable.

‘As a minimum, you should not be expecting to see Aberdeen or Celtic play over the course of the coming week.’

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said fans should not expect to see Aberdeen or Celtic play in the coming week but stopped short of suspending the Premiership season

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said fans should not expect to see Aberdeen or Celtic play in the coming week but stopped short of suspending the Premiership season

It came after Celtic condemned the behaviour of Bolingoli after the defender travelled to Spain on an unsanctioned trip in breach of Covid-19 quarantine rules.

The Belgian defender’s action could bring the Scottish football season to a halt after he came on as a late substitute in Celtic’s 1-1 draw at Kilmarnock on Sunday.

Now the reigning Scottish Premiership champions have apologised for Bolingoli’s actions, saying ‘it is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances.’ 

Bolingoli failed to tell Celtic officials he had visited a high-risk country. Anyone arriving back in the UK from Spain has been required to self-isolate for 14 days since July 26.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was unaware of the player’s movements when he brought Bolingoli off the bench late on at Rugby Park. 

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, Celtic expressed regret for the player’s ‘stupidity’.

Lennon speaks to Bolingoli before bringing him off the bench in Sunday's game at Rugby Park

Lennon speaks to Bolingoli before bringing him off the bench in Sunday’s game at Rugby Park

It read: ‘Celtic Football Club unreservedly condemns and apologises for the behaviour of the player Boli Bolingoli in travelling to Spain without informing the club and in failing to observe quarantine restrictions.

‘It is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances and we find it beyond explanation. The Club will take immediate action through our own disciplinary procedures.

‘Celtic are in touch with every SPFL club today, and with all relevant authorities, to apologise for the fact that one of our employees has created so much additional difficulty through his actions.

‘All of our playing and backroom staff have been tested twice for Covid-19 since this incident and all, including the player in question, have tested negative. 

‘While this comes as a relief to all concerned, it in no way diminishes the seriousness or stupidity of the player’s actions. 

Celtic said the defender had tested negative for Covid-19 but an investigation has been started

Celtic said the defender had tested negative for Covid-19 but an investigation has been started

‘Since the Covid-19 crisis began, we have had a safe and healthy squad of players, recording not one positive test. As a club, we have worked tirelessly to ensure a sustained, safe environment for all.

‘We have led the way in working with the football authorities and Scottish Government to establish the most rigorous, effective protocols and working practices, which ultimately led to the resumption of football. We could have done no more in this area. 

‘It is a matter of the deepest regret to us that the behaviour of one individual has jeopardised that reputation and reflected discredit on football more generally.’ 

After belatedly learning of the trip, furious Celtic bosses hauled Bolingoli in for a heated meeting at Parkhead on Monday.

The Belgian sat among team-mates in the stands on Sunday before being brought on

The Belgian sat among team-mates in the stands on Sunday before being brought on

On Monday night the defender – who has since tested negative for the virus – said: ‘I have made a huge mistake. I want to apologise to my manager, my team-mates, the supporters, everyone at Celtic and so many others for letting them down so badly.

‘I am guilty of a major error of judgement. I know what I did was wrong and I know that I must now deal with the consequences.’

The club has now launched an internal probe.

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton said there should be ‘no way back’ for Bolingoli after his ill-advised trip to Spain.

Sutton tweeted: ‘There should be no way back for Bolingoli at Celtic now. If he knowingly went to Spain before the Kilmarnock game and broke quarantine rules he showed he really doesn’t give a s*** about his teammates, the manager and the support… Celtic should get rid immediately.’

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton tweeted that there is 'no way back' for Bolingoli at the club

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton tweeted that there is ‘no way back’ for Bolingoli at the club

His extraordinary behaviour comes after two Aberdeen players became infected with Covid-19 after eight of them visited a city restaurant after the opening day defeat by Rangers.

The players are all now self-isolating and will miss Wednesday’s game with Hamilton – should it get the go-ahead.

Last week, Sturgeon said: ‘They blatantly broke the rules that had been agreed between the SFA, the SPFL, and the Scottish Government, which, to put it mildly, is completely unacceptable.

‘Football has been given the go-ahead on the strict condition that clubs and players abide by the guidance that has been agreed.

‘They put at risk the return of the professional game. To say this incident is deeply regrettable is an understatement.

‘I’m pretty furious about this situation, because it shouldn’t have happened. If that guidance is not going to be adhered to then all bets are off.’

Aberdeen’s match with St Johnstone on Saturday was postponed.

Celtic apologise for Boli Bolingoli’s ‘irresponsible stupidity’ after he broke quarantine rules 

Celtic have condemned the behaviour of Boli Bolingoli after the defender travelled to Spain on an unsanctioned trip in breach of Covid-19 quarantine rules.

The Belgian defender’s action could bring the Scottish football season to a halt after he came on as a late substitute in Celtic’s 1-1 draw at Kilmarnock on Sunday.

Now the reigning Scottish Premiership champions have apologised for Bolingoli’s actions, saying ‘it is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances.’ 

The Scottish football season could be halted after Boli Bolingoli (left) travelled to Spain – he was introduced as a substitute in Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock on Sunday

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

Celtic boss Neil Lennon - who was unaware of the trip - played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Celtic boss Neil Lennon – who was unaware of the trip – played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Bolingoli failed to tell Celtic officials he had visited a high-risk country. Anyone arriving back in the UK from Spain has been required to self-isolate for 14 days since July 26.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was unaware of the player’s movements when he brought Bolingoli off the bench late on at Rugby Park.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is set to host a press conference on Tuesday lunchtime with speculation mounting the season could be halted. 

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, Celtic expressed regret for the player’s ‘stupidity’.

It read: ‘Celtic Football Club unreservedly condemns and apologises for the behaviour of the player Boli Bolingoli in travelling to Spain without informing the club and in failing to observe quarantine restrictions.

‘It is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances and we find it beyond explanation. The Club will take immediate action through our own disciplinary procedures.

Lennon speaks to Bolingoli before bringing him off the bench in Sunday's game at Rugby Park

Lennon speaks to Bolingoli before bringing him off the bench in Sunday’s game at Rugby Park

‘Celtic are in touch with every SPFL club today, and with all relevant authorities, to apologise for the fact that one of our employees has created so much additional difficulty through his actions.

‘All of our playing and backroom staff have been tested twice for Covid-19 since this incident and all, including the player in question, have tested negative. 

‘While this comes as a relief to all concerned, it in no way diminishes the seriousness or stupidity of the player’s actions.

‘Since the Covid-19 crisis began, we have had a safe and healthy squad of players, recording not one positive test. As a club, we have worked tirelessly to ensure a sustained, safe environment for all.

‘We have led the way in working with the football authorities and Scottish Government to establish the most rigorous, effective protocols and working practices, which ultimately led to the resumption of football. We could have done no more in this area.

Celtic said the defender had tested negative for Covid-19 but an investigation has been started

Celtic said the defender had tested negative for Covid-19 but an investigation has been started

‘It is a matter of the deepest regret to us that the behaviour of one individual has jeopardised that reputation and reflected discredit on football more generally.’

It came as a spokesman for the Scottish Government suggested this latest breach – in the wake of several Aberdeen players testing positive for Covid-19 – could see the Premiership season halted just two games in.

‘The Scottish Government is aware of reports of a Celtic FC player having broken quarantine rules last week,’ the spokesman said. ‘We are currently in discussion with the club and football governing bodies to establish the facts.

‘If confirmed as another serious incident within Scottish football, where protocols have been breached at the risk of wider public health, then the Scottish Government will have little choice but to consider whether a pause is now needed in the resumption of the game in Scotland.’

After belatedly learning of the trip, furious Celtic bosses hauled Bolingoli in for a heated meeting at Parkhead on Monday.

The Belgian sat among team-mates in the stands on Sunday before being brought on

The Belgian sat among team-mates in the stands on Sunday before being brought on

On Monday night the defender – who has since tested negative for the virus – said: ‘I have made a huge mistake. I want to apologise to my manager, my team-mates, the supporters, everyone at Celtic and so many others for letting them down so badly.

‘I am guilty of a major error of judgement. I know what I did was wrong and I know that I must now deal with the consequences.’

The club has now launched an internal probe.

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton said there should be ‘no way back’ for Bolingoli after his ill-advised trip to Spain.

Sutton tweeted: ‘There should be no way back for Bolingoli at Celtic now. If he knowingly went to Spain before the Kilmarnock game and broke quarantine rules he showed he really doesn’t give a s*** about his teammates, the manager and the support… Celtic should get rid immediately.’

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton tweeted that there is 'no way back' for Bolingoli at the club

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton tweeted that there is ‘no way back’ for Bolingoli at the club

His extraordinary behaviour comes after two Aberdeen players became infected with Covid-19 after eight of them visited a city restaurant after the opening day defeat by Rangers.

The players are all now self-isolating and will miss Wednesday’s game with Hamilton – should it get the go-ahead.

Last week, Sturgeon said: ‘They blatantly broke the rules that had been agreed between the SFA, the SPFL, and the Scottish Government, which, to put it mildly, is completely unacceptable.

‘Football has been given the go-ahead on the strict condition that clubs and players abide by the guidance that has been agreed.

‘They put at risk the return of the professional game. To say this incident is deeply regrettable is an understatement.

‘I’m pretty furious about this situation, because it shouldn’t have happened. If that guidance is not going to be adhered to then all bets are off.’

Aberdeen’s match with St Johnstone on Saturday was postponed.

Scottish football season could be HALTED after Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli travelled to Spain

Scottish football season could be HALTED after it emerges Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli broke quarantine rules with a secret trip to Spain before featuring against Kilmarnock

  • The Scottish football season could be halted after a Celtic star travelled to Spain 
  • Boli Bolingoli visited the country last week on an unsanctioned trip  
  • The trip is a clear breach of coronavirus quarantine rules on all clubs
  • Bolingoli failed to tell club officials that he had visited the high-risk country 

The Scottish football season could be called to a halt after Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli travelled to Spain last week on an unsanctioned trip in clear breach of Covid-19 quarantine rules.

The Belgian defender took his place on the bench at Rugby Park on Sunday after failing to tell Celtic officials he had recently been to a high-risk country.

Unaware of the player’s movements, Celtic boss Neil Lennon put the defender on as a late substitute in the 1-1 draw when he should have been self-isolating at home – putting every player and match official at risk. Anyone arriving back in UK nations from Spain since July 26 has been required to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Scottish football season could be halted after Boli Bolingoli (left) travelled to Spain

And on Monday night a Scottish Government spokesman said that after this latest breach it may be time to halt to the season – just two games into the new campaign.

‘The Scottish Government is aware of reports of a Celtic FC player having broken quarantine rules last week,’ the spokesman said. ‘We are currently in discussion with the club and football governing bodies to establish the facts.

‘If confirmed as another serious incident within Scottish football, where protocols have been breached at the risk of wider public health, then the Scottish Government will have little choice but to consider whether a pause is now needed in the resumption of the game in Scotland.’

After belatedly learning of the trip, furious Celtic bosses hauled Bolingoli in for a heated meeting at Parkhead on Monday.

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

On Monday night the defender – who has since tested negative for the virus – said: ‘I have made a huge mistake. I want to apologise to my manager, my team-mates, the supporters, everyone at Celtic and so many others for letting them down so badly.

‘I am guilty of a major error of judgement. I know what I did was wrong and I know that I must now deal with the consequences.’

The club has now launched an internal probe.

A spokesman said: ‘Celtic Football Club has taken its response to Covid-19 extremely seriously and we are pleased that, to date, we have recorded no positive tests.

‘Our staff have given so much in this area, working tirelessly to ensure that all players and other club personnel are safe, fully aware of their own responsibilities and familiar with all guidance and protocols.

‘Safety must always be our priority.

‘Clearly, a full investigation will now take place and the club will take all appropriate action.

‘Subsequent to the player’s return he has recorded two negative tests in the past week.’

Celtic boss Neil Lennon - who was unaware of the trip - played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Celtic boss Neil Lennon – who was unaware of the trip – played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Bolingoli joined the Hoops from Rapid Vienna for £3million in July 2019 and made 28 appearances for the club last season.

His extraordinary behaviour comes after two Aberdeen players became infected with Covid-19 after eight of them visited a city restaurant after the opening day defeat by Rangers.

The players are all now self-isolating and will miss Wednesday’s game with Hamilton – should it get the go-ahead.

Last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘They blatantly broke the rules that had been agreed between the SFA, the SPFL, and the Scottish Government, which, to put it mildly, is completely unacceptable.

‘Football has been given the go-ahead on the strict condition that clubs and players abide by the guidance that has been agreed.

‘They put at risk the return of the professional game. To say this incident is deeply regrettable is an understatement.

‘I’m pretty furious about this situation, because it shouldn’t have happened. If that guidance is not going to be adhered to then all bets are off.’

Aberdeen’s match with St Johnstone on Saturday was postponed.

Lockdown measures have already been reintroduced in Aberdeen as the number of cases in the area grew.

Bolingoli’s gaffe comes after Celtic warned Leigh Griffiths about his conduct after pictures of a party at the striker’s house appeared to show more than the eight people who are currently permitted to attend under social distancing guidelines.

Lennon later said of the Griffiths incident: ‘I’m not convinced it’s a big issue.’

Los Angeles Angels fielder Jo Adell endures fielding howler in MLB clash against Texas Rangers 

Los Angeles Angels’ Jo Adell commits embarrassing ‘four-base error’ by accidentally knocking a routine fly ball over the outfield fence

  • Angels right fielder Jo Adell committed a rare four-base error on Sunday by misplaying a routine fly ball that popped out of his glove and flew over the fence
  • The official scorer changed what would have been Rangers infielder Nick Solak’s first homer of the season to an error after consulting with the Elias Sports Bureau
  • Elias isn’t aware of any precedent for a four-base error on a ball that went over the wall, although Jose Canseco committed a similar error for Texas 27 years ago

Los Angeles Angels rookie right fielder Jo Adell has been in the Major Leagues for less than a week, but already has a signature highlight: a four-base error in Sunday’s 7-3 loss to the Texas Rangers.  

Adell was charged with the rare feat when a routine pop fly bounced out of his glove and flew the few remaining feet over the fence.

Nick Solak hoped the original ruling of a home run would stand, but knew right away it hadn’t when he saw a Texas hit replaced by a Los Angeles error on the scoreboard two innings later.

The official scorer changed what would have been Solak’s first homer of the season to an error after consulting with the Elias Sports Bureau. Elias said it wasn’t aware of any precedent for a four-base error on a ball that went over the wall.

It’s not the first time the Rangers have been caught up in a strange home run play – or non-homer, in this case. A little more than 27 years ago, Jose Canseco was playing right for Texas when a deep fly bounced off his head and over the fence.

Jo Adell suffered an embarrassing mishap for Los Angeles Angels against Texas Rangers

Nick Solak's strike should have been an easy catch for the right fielder, but he spilt the shot

Nick Solak’s strike should have been an easy catch for the right fielder, but he spilt the shot

‘I think I deserve a home run for sure,’ said Solak, who still had two hits and scored two other runs. ‘You know, you think like the Canseco play, I don’t even know how that was scored, hopefully a home run.

‘But as a hitter I’m always kind of, if I was a scorer, I’d always err on the side of giving guys more hits. But that’s me personally, so I don’t know.’

The Canseco ball was a homer for Carlos Martinez in Cleveland in 1993, but the big slugger was running toward the wall when the ball eluded his glove and bonked off his head.

Adell was drifting toward the warning track when he said he lost the ball as he turned his shoulder. By the time he found it again, the ball was right on top of him. He reached out quickly with his gloved left hand, and the ball popped out before clearing the fence.

Once he realized what happened, Adell put his hands over his head and stared toward the retractable roof in the Rangers’ new $1.2 billion stadium. Later came a conversation with star center fielder Mike Trout.

Adell was devastated after only making his Major League Baseball debut a week beforehand 

‘He just told me that it ain’t going to be the last time things like that happen,’ said Adell, who struck out all four times up in his fourth big league game. ‘It’s one of those things where it sucks, but it’s not the first time that that’s happened in baseball. It’s difficult.’

Texas manager Chris Woodward said he intended to ‘fight’ to get the ruling turned back into a homer. Rangers catcher Jeff Mathis said he didn’t even know until reporters told him after the game that Solak’s long ball was scored an error, not a homer.

‘It’s an embarrassing play for a fielder and it’s tough,’ Angels manager Joe Maddon said. ‘I went over and talked to him briefly and I thought he dealt with it well.’  

‘It’s gonna have to be me just settling in, figuring out my groove and understanding it’s a game and things happen,’ Adell said, reflecting on the game. 

‘You make mistakes. Just go out and do you. I think I’m not there yet. I’m ready to get there. I’m on my way to getting there. 

Solak initially celebrated a home run before the error was judged to be a four-base error

Solak initially celebrated a home run before the error was judged to be a four-base error

Los Angeles Angels fielder Jo Adell endures fielding howler in MLB clash against Texas Rangers 

Los Angeles Angels’ Jo Adell commits embarrassing ‘four-base error’ by accidentally knocking a routine fly ball over the outfield fence

  • Angels right fielder Jo Adell committed a rare four-base error on Sunday by misplaying a routine fly ball that popped out of his glove and flew over the fence
  • The official scorer changed what would have been Rangers rookie Nick Solak’s first homer of the season to an error after consulting with the Elias Sports Bureau
  • Elias isn’t aware of any precedent for a four-base error on a ball that went over the wall, although Jose Canseco committed a similar error for Texas 27 years ago

Los Angeles Angels rookie right fielder Jo Adell has been in the Major Leagues for less than a week, but already has a signature highlight: a four-base error in Sunday’s 7-3 loss to the Texas Rangers.  

Adell was charged with the rare feat when a routine pop fly bounced out of his glove and flew the few remaining feet over the fence.

Nick Solak hoped the original ruling of a home run would stand, but knew right away it hadn’t when he saw a Texas hit replaced by a Los Angeles error on the scoreboard two innings later.

The official scorer changed what would have been Solak’s first homer of the season to an error after consulting with the Elias Sports Bureau. Elias said it wasn’t aware of any precedent for a four-base error on a ball that went over the wall.

It’s not the first time the Rangers have been caught up in a strange home run play – or non-homer, in this case. A little more than 27 years ago, Jose Canseco was playing right for Texas when a deep fly bounced off his head and over the fence.

Jo Adell suffered an embarrassing mishap for Los Angeles Angels against Texas Rangers

Nick Solak's strike should have been an easy catch for the right fielder, but he spilt the shot

Nick Solak’s strike should have been an easy catch for the right fielder, but he spilt the shot

‘I think I deserve a home run for sure,’ said Solak, who still had two hits and scored two other runs. ‘You know, you think like the Canseco play, I don’t even know how that was scored, hopefully a home run.

‘But as a hitter I’m always kind of, if I was a scorer, I’d always err on the side of giving guys more hits. But that’s me personally, so I don’t know.’

The Canseco ball was a homer for Carlos Martinez in Cleveland in 1993, but the big slugger was running toward the wall when the ball eluded his glove and bonked off his head.

Adell was drifting toward the warning track when he said he lost the ball as he turned his shoulder. By the time he found it again, the ball was right on top of him. He reached out quickly with his gloved left hand, and the ball popped out before clearing the fence.

Once he realized what happened, Adell put his hands over his head and stared toward the retractable roof in the Rangers’ new $1.2 billion stadium. Later came a conversation with star center fielder Mike Trout.

Adell was devastated after only making his Major League Baseball debut a week beforehand 

‘He just told me that it ain’t going to be the last time things like that happen,’ said Adell, who struck out all four times up in his fourth big league game. ‘It’s one of those things where it sucks, but it’s not the first time that that’s happened in baseball. It’s difficult.’

Texas manager Chris Woodward said he intended to ‘fight’ to get the ruling turned back into a homer. Rangers catcher Jeff Mathis said he didn’t even know until reporters told him after the game that Solak’s long ball was scored an error, not a homer.

‘It’s an embarrassing play for a fielder and it’s tough,’ Angels manager Joe Maddon said. ‘I went over and talked to him briefly and I thought he dealt with it well.’  

‘It’s gonna have to be me just settling in, figuring out my groove and understanding it’s a game and things happen,’ Adell said, reflecting on the game. 

‘You make mistakes. Just go out and do you. I think I’m not there yet. I’m ready to get there. I’m on my way to getting there. 

Solak initially celebrated a home run before the error was judged to be a four-base error

Solak initially celebrated a home run before the error was judged to be a four-base error