Uruguay’s Jose Maria Gimenez could face a lengthy ban following unsavoury scenes which marred his country’s exit from the World Cup, including a Fifa official being 'elbowed' as well as the VAR monitor being punched.
With time ticking down, Uruguay were heading into the last 16 as they led Ghana 2-0 on Friday, but South Korea’s 91st-minute strike gave them a surprise 2-1 victory over Portugal.
That left the South Americans needing one goal and Ghana two in the final eight added minutes to qualify. But neither outcome materialised and South Korea, watching mobile phone footage on the pitch 15 miles away across Doha, were able to celebrate finishing in second place from Group H amid jubilant scenes.
At the final whistle, Uruguay players then surrounded referee Daniel Siebert and the match officials to vent their anger.
As the officials attempted to leave the pitch, a viral video appeared to show Gimenez elbowing a Fifa official in the back of the head and had to be restrained by team-mates.
Esto es muy gordo. Giménez ha agredido al director de competiciones de FIFA. Le ha dado un codazo y acto seguido le ha insultado de manera muy grave. La sanción va a ser histórica. pic.twitter.com/L3J0VkEtKe
— MisterChip (Alexis) (@2010MisterChip) December 2, 2022
According to reports in Spain, if the incidents are reported by the match officials - the Fifa competitions director was thought to be the official struck in the melee - Gimenez could face up to a 15-match ban. It is not known whether this would refer to an international or club ban.
Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo noted article 12 of Fifa’s Disciplinary Code which states a ban could be "at least fifteen matches or an appropriate period of time for assaulting (elbowing, punching, kicking or biting; spitting, hitting, etc.) an official of party".
Gimenez, who plays for Atletico Madrid, was also seen screaming at one TV camera: “They [the referees] are all a bunch of thieves these sons of b***hes. Yes, record me. Son of a b***h.”
The Uruguayan was referring to decisions in the game, which included a late penalty appeal and was turned down when Edinson Cavani went down in the penalty area.
Cavani was also caught on camera punching a stand holding the VAR monitor, which was knocked to the ground, on his way down the tunnel. Both Cavani and Gimenez were given yellow cards after the final whistle.
The group stage exit was the first time in four tournaments that Uruguay had failed to reach the last 16 of the World Cup.
Luis Suarez, who was left in tears at the final whistle, claimed afterwards that Fifa had an agenda against Uruguay and was left aggrieved at two penalty appeals which didn’t go their way.
Suarez, likely to have played his last World Cup aged 35, said: “The people at Fifa and the Referees Committee have to give explanations as to what they are basing their decision to award the incredible penalties that are being awarded and we didn’t get two today.
“It’s not an excuse, but we also have to respond to that lack of power.
“After the game I wanted to see my children and the Fifa people told me no, when a France player was with his children on the bench. It seems that Uruguay has to have more power, Fifa is always against Uruguay.”
Watch: England prepare to face Senegal on eve of last 16 tie