While we appreciate that this image is not good for the game as a whole, we can nevertheless afford sympathy for the fourth official during last week’s Copa do Basil match between Santa Cruz and Americano.
Americano claimed the 4-2 victory on the night, but it was a confrontation between the Santa Cruz coach Marcio Bittencourt and the fourth official Patrick Souza which stole the headlines.
The incident came about after Americano scored a goal which the hosts were convinced was offside. With the officials refusing to overturn their decision despite protestations from the Santa Cruz players, Bittencourt took his complaints to the next level, getting right in the face of Mr. Souza as the official entered the coach’s technical area in an effort to seemingly calm the situation.
With the red mist descended, Bittencourt stood nose-to-nose with the official, rocking his head back and forward as he motioned to headbutt the official. Amazingly, this confrontation took place right under the nose of a reporter, who was standing on the scene with his microphone out.
It remains unclear whether the pair actually clashed heads, but regardless, something sparked a reaction from the fourth official who reacted violently by pushing Bittencourt full on in the chest. Cue flailing arms and a group of interventionists, as Souza had to be forcably separated from attacking Bittencourt.
The Marcio Bittencourt-Patrick Souza confrontation can be seen here.