36 Players Suspended After Epic Paraguay Soccer Brawl

A football match in Paraguay’s junior league leaves 36 players suspended after fighting breaks out on the pitch.
A brawl on the pitch led to 36 players being expelled from a junior league soccer match in Caacupe, Paraguay on Sunday.

In the last five minutes of the game, the referee, Nestor Guillen, handed out two red cards, one to a player from each team for fighting. Instead of going to the dressing room, the two players remained on the field and continued fighting.

In a matter of minutes the clash spun out of control, involving players from both teams.

“Many of the players that were on the field and on the bench, everyone went onto the field to try to control their teammates and even the players from the other team,” said Teniente Farina club president Hernan Martinez.

Rather than trying to pacify the brawls, the referees ran off the field in fear.

“The referees didn’t even stay on the field. As soon as the fighting broke out they went to the dressing room. [Reporter asks: “the referee gave a red card and then left?”]. Yes, they just ran through the tunnel and to their locker room. They weren’t able to see anything that happened. But, in the report, to more or less wash their hands of the responsibility, they expelled the 36 players,” Martinez said.

Libertad club president Sixto Nunez said the referees shirked some of their duties in fleeing the scene.

“The referee needed to take better care of the boys. He should have made sure that the two expelled players were completely off the field. Instead, the referees left the field and when the players were all leaving together that’s when the fighting started again,” said Nunez.

The 36 suspended players await sanctions from the league’s disciplinary committee.

Contains footage from Reuters

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