An Egyptian referee, Mohamed Farouk, has been suspended indefinitely by the country’s Football Association after allegedly disallowing a late goal after looking at footage on a spectator’s phone.
Farouk took charge of an Egyptian Second Division clash between Al-Nasr and Suez on Friday, and in the absence of VAR, relied on an alternative system to get a second look at a late goal.
While the hosts Suez 2-1 up heading into the final few minutes, Al-Nasr scored a dramatic equaliser to earn a point on the road.
However, after vociferous protests from home supporters, Farouk was invited to use a fan’s phone to watch a replay of the goal, before ruling it out for handball to deny the visitors an away point at Suez on Friday.
As a result of his actions, Farouk has come in for hefty punishment, with head of the Egyptian Referees Committee (ERC) Vitor Pereira deciding to suspend the referee and his entire matchday staff for ‘an indefinite period’.
Pereira replaced former veteran Premier League official Mark Clattenburg in the role with the ERC earlier in March.
Pereira’s action was confirmed by the Egyptian FA, who added: “The committee decided to investigate the incident when Mohamed Farouk, the referee of the match, used a mobile phone to review footage of the match’s events.”
As the goal – which at first appeared to be a bundled header off an in-swinging free-kick – went in, home fans appeared to enter the pitch in outrage, demanding the goal be ruled out for handball.
Chaos then ensued with members of both teams circling the referee as others entered the pitch, before the refereeing team appeared to consult the footage on the touchlines inside a protective ring formed by stadium staff.
And as a result of the contentious decision to overturn the goal, Farouk reportedly left the field under police escort, according to the BBC, with Al-Nasr staff allegedly threatening legal action against Farouk for violating regulations.