A 15-year-old exchange student who was playing in a high school basketball game punched a referee in the mouth during a Kyushu basketball tournament in Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture.
The incident occurred on June 17 during the semifinal between Miyazaki Prefecture’s Nobeoka Gakuen High School, for whom the student plays, and Ohori High School, which is affiliated with Fukuoka University.
During the last minute of the game, Ohori was leading 78-66, when the referee called a foul against the student, his third of the game, Fuji TV reported. The student disputed the call, yelled at the referee and then punched him in the mouth.
Tournament officials said the referee was taken to hospital where he received 10 stitches to his mouth.
Following the incident, Nokeoka Gakuen forfeited the game and issued an apology to the referee and spectators. The student also apologized later to the referee. Police were called to the arena but the referee decided later not to press assault charges.
Local media quoted one spectator as saying, “Something like that shouldn’t happen on a basketball court,” while another said, “The referee was repeatedly calling fouls on the exchange student and his frustration might have just built up to the point where he exploded.”
The student, who reportedly does not speak Japanese, had recently been taking a break from basketball practice and said he wanted to go back to his home country (Democratic Republic of Congo).© Japan Today