BEIJING, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- The former director of the Chinese Football Association (CFA) referee department Liu Hu has slammed Henrique Dourado's knocking over of the referee in a Chinese Super League game as "criminal."
In the 15th minute of the Wuhan Yangtze River's home match against Henan Songshan Longmen on Sunday, Brazilian player Dourado ran straight at the referee Ma Ning from behind and knocked the match official over. After reviewing through VAR, Ma sent the Henan striker off.
"I can't refrain from commenting after seeing the video (of Dourado's misconduct). It is simply outrageous," he wrote on social media on Monday.
"The similar behavior of Dourado, who purposedly knocked over the referee Ma Ning from behind, has rarely been seen across world professional games. It is a criminal act which could ruin the victim's career."
"Dourado ran at high speed and rammed into Ma Ning on the back with the latter completely unaware of what's happening. This could result in an unexpectedly serious physical injury for the victim," he wrote.
"This is a very vicious act representing a flagrant challenge to the spirit of football as a sport. The players' and match officials' physical safety must be safeguarded," he added.
Chinese former international Li Yi also voiced his shock at Dourado's gross conduct through social media.
"I was left in total shock by Dourado's misconduct which resulted in a red card," Li said.
"That's an act of violence committed on a match official, which will be surely further punished."
"No matter what happens on the pitch, you need to keep your self-control," Li added.
According to CFA rules, any act of violence committed on match officials by players, including elbowing, punching and kicking, will incur a suspension of at least six months.
Henan Songshan Longmen said in the wake of the Dourado incident that they are ready to accept any penalty the CFA hands them or their players.
The Henan club said they will mete out their own punishment including fines, suspensions and contract terminations of players who have been shown red cards for on-pitch misbehavior. ■