Lifestyle & Belief

Soccer referee dies after being punched in face by teen player


Police have accused a 17-year-old player in a recreational soccer league of punching referee Ricardo Portillo after the man called a foul on him and issued him a yellow card.

A soccer referee in the US has died after being punched in the head by a player.

According to police, Ricardo Portillo, 46, was refereeing a game in Salt Lake City, Utah, on April 27 when he issued a player, aged 17, with a yellow card for a foul, CNN reported.

In soccer, a yellow card is a caution to the player and a second yellow card results in the player being sent off. 

Portillo began vomiting after the punch and was taken to hospital where he slipped into a coma for a week before dying on Saturday. 

His family said he had been attacked before, but he continued to referee because he loved soccer.

"It was his passion," his daughter, Johana, 26, said.

"We could not tell him no," the London Independent reported.

Police said the youth was initially charged with aggravated assault and is in a juvenile detention center. 

Authorities will consider additional charges since Portillo has died, Fox News reported.

Johana said last week witnesses told her the player allegedly hit her father in the side of the head.

"When he was writing down his notes, he just came out of nowhere and punched him," she said.