Whenever someone mentions FIFA World Cup 2006 final, that famous (rather, infamous) incident comes to the mind of every football fan all over the world. With only 10 minutes left before the penalty shoot-out, French superstar Zinedine Zidane, later claiming that he was “provoked” by Marco Materazzi, headbutted the Italian defender and was given marching orders.
The Zidane incident, probably the most discussed headbutt in the history of any sport, resurfaced again yesterday when an amateur Austrian player repeated the heinous act, only in a worse way.
Ismail Gunduz was playing for SK Rum in a fourth tier match against SPG Innsbruck West. He was already on a yellow card and at the 86th minute, the referee produced another to send him off the ground. Gunduz, out of rage at this decision, marched over to the referee and took no time to headbutt the unfortunate official at the face.
The referee was taken to the hospital afterwards, with blood flowing from his lips. SK Rum management were incensed to see such behavior from the player and immediately sacked Gunduz.
But the story took a new turn when Tirol Football Association investigated the matter and took a drastic decision. The association banned Ismail Gunduz for 70 matches, which means that at professional level, he will have to be out of action for nearly two seasons.
Surprised to be handed the ban, Gunduz called this sentence “madness” and in his defense, could only say that he “slipped” on his way off the pitch after getting the marching order. He also said that he will try utmost to overturn this decision and see whether he can start playing as soon as possible.
Later that day, SK Rum’s sporting director Matthias Waldegger, addressed this issue to the press and said, “I hope that player will never find another club.”