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Police Confirm Investigation Into Valletta Stars Player’s ‘Strong Shoving’ Of Referee  

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Police have launched an investigation into a Valletta Stars player who attacked a referee during an amateur football league game last weekend.

A police spokesperson confirmed with Lovin Malta that a report was filed over the incident and that investigations are ongoing. No charges have been issued yet.

Referee C.J. Saliba was attacked by a Valletta Stars player during the second half of their amateur league match against Marsa St Michael last weekend, an incident which forced the suspension of the game.

Valletta Stars promptly condemned the incident as “unacceptable” and suspended the player indefinitely.

The club later clarified that there were no repeated punches or excessive violence on the referee.

The player shoved the referee in a strong manner as a result of which the referee lost his balance,” it said.

“Whilst the club confirms that the referee sought medical attention on the pitch at the time of the incident, the referee was fit again to officiate the third match of the day, immediately after the incident.”

Valletta Stars said the player acted without any kind of instigation by the club’s committee or his teammates and that he was escorted off the pitch by the coach and officials immediately after the incident without any further chaos or commotion towards officials.

“Notwithstanding the above considerations, the club, which is run on a voluntary basis, never instigates violence and condemns any violent acts which puts the club in a bad light, such as last Saturday’s incident,” it said.

There has been an outpour of solidarity with Saliba on social media, while football governing bodies have condemned the assault.

The Malta Amateur Football Association described the assault as “deplorable” and warned that any official, player or supporter who does these things cannot be part of its body, while the Malta Football Association said violence has no place in football.

Cover photo: Left: Referee C.J. Saliba

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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