Ref was too drunk to whistle

It's widely believed that football referees have one of the toughest jobs in sport. But nobody expects them to turn to drink to relieve the stress - and certainly not during a match. Yet that's what apparently happened at a Belarusian Premier League tie between FC Naftan and FC Vitebsk.

The first half went well enough. It was only when the players came out for the second half that people began to notice something was wrong.

At first it looked like the FIFA appointed referee, Sergey Shmolik, was having trouble with his back. But gradually the players and spectators saw the real reason - he was drunk.

The referee spent most of the second period in the centre circle, directing the game with meaningless gestures and strange whistle-blows.

Shmolik has been suspended from refereeing for the time being and is due to face a hearing at the Belarusian FA later this week.

No one knows what happened for certain, but that half-time cup of tea looks to have had more than just milk and sugar in it. A test performed after the match revealed an enormous amount of alcohol in the referee's blood.

The match, meanwhile, ended in a 1-all draw.