A referee, Khoder Yaghi, was stricken during a First Grade match between Padstow Hornets and Greenacre Eagles at Padstow Park in south-west Sydney.
The incident occurred on Friday night when a suspended player who was watching the game rushed at him, leaving him with a broken jaw and three missing teeth.
The suspect, Adam Abdullah, has been identified as a Greenacre player and amateur boxer and was subsequently arrested and taken to Bankstown Police Station. He is expected to be charged.
The incident has caused outrage among the football community, and footage has gone viral on social media.
The video shows the spectator repeatedly punching Mr Yaghi in the head, causing him to fall to the ground while trying to cover his face from the shower of punches.
Mr Yaghi is currently recovering at Liverpool Hospital, and he is expected to undergo reconstructive surgery for his jaw on Monday.
Football NSW has released a statement condemning the incident and reiterating its zero-tolerance policy for any antisocial behavior from any of its participants at any time.
The organization will also provide ongoing assistance and support to the Bankstown Football Association, which is investigating the incident.
What exactly happened?
Mr. Yaghi had been refereeing the match between Padstow Hornets and Greenacre Eagles when a spectator began abusing the referees badly. The referee had asked for a ground official to calm the situation, but the spectator continued to hurl insults.
The suspect then jumped over the fence and ran straight towards them. He started swearing and abusing them for no reason and put his hands up to start a conflict.
Mr. Yaghi tried to push the suspect away with his 45cm linesman’s stick, but the suspect started running around and trying to get behind him. As Mr. Yaghi was having an argument with another player, the suspect attacked him from behind, punching him in the face with his hands and legs all over his head and face.
The incident left Mr. Yaghi with a broken jaw and three missing teeth.
Greenacre Eagles, the team to which the suspect belongs, released a statement on Sunday announcing its withdrawal from the first-grade MPL competition for the remainder of the 2023 season.