At the time of the incident it was not clear whether the Corinthians midfielder Petros had deliberately pushed over referee Raphael Claus or whether the pair had accidentally collided. However, a sports tribunal has deemed the collision was not an accident and handed out a lengthy ban to the attacking midfielder.
His absence will come as a significant blow to Corinthians who are third in Brazil’s Serie A, five points behind leaders Cruzeiro.
Corinthians are set to appeal the ban, but the video evidence does not look good. Petros has since claimed he barged into the referee after being unhappy that the match official had earlier blocked one of his teammates.
As lame defences go, that one is right up there with the basis of Luis Suarez’s appeal against his four-month World Cup ban for biting.
“After the impact…I lost my balance, making my body unstable and falling on top of my opponent,” Suarez said. “At that moment I hit my face against the player leaving a small bruise on my cheek and a strong pain in my teeth.”
Six months is certainly at the harsher end of the disciplinary spectrum. When Paolo Di Canio pushed over referee Paul Alcock during a heated Premier League encounter between Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal in 1998, he was handed an 11-match ban and fined £10,000. In terms of time away from the game, those 11 games equated to a 2-month ban.