Monaco’s Martins suspended six months for shoving referee (video)

Gelson Martins
Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images
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Gelson Martins is learning a costly lesson after shoving a referee last month.

Martins has been suspended for six months by the French league for a Feb. 6 incident in which he pushed referee Mikael Lesage, who had sent off teammate Tiemoue Bakayoko.

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The 21-times capped Portuguese winger, 24, will not be eligible to return to AS Monaco until July 1.

Suspensions for physical incidents with referees will almost always be harsh given the importance of the position in the sport and the freedom necessary to do their jobs. There’s also increased focus on protecting referees in recent years.

Referees in Berlin protested increased incidents of violence earlier this year, while Franck Ribery and Neymar have both been suspended for making contact with officials. In 2014, an American referee was killed after a player punched him in the face after a red card incident. The player was sentenced to eight years in prison. A lower-league playoff match in the U.S. was abandoned this Fall after a referee was punched by a coach.

Martins left Sporting Lisbon for Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2018, going on loan to Monaco after a half-season. Monaco purchased him Atleti last summer.

He has eight goals and three assists in 37 league matches for Monaco over parts of two seasons. Martins leads the team in dribbles per game (2.4) and is averaging 1.3 key passes per contest via WhoScored.

In other words, it’s a big loss.

Monaco sits seventh in Ligue 1, six points back of the European places.