International referee officiates match drunk

The Belarusian referee was carried off the field
Andrey Osmolovskiy (KP Minsk) - 11.07.2008

A scandal ensued after a Belarus league match between Vitebsk and Naftan.

Renowned international referee Sergey Shmolik officiated the entire match drunk. By the ninetieth minute, he couldn't leave the pitch on his own two feet. Vitebsk's administrator escorted him off the field. All the while, Shmolik tried to slip loose from his grip. The referee officiated at Wembley for England's victory over Luxemburg in 1999.

As Shmolik was dragged off the pitch, he waived to fans and received a loud round of applause.

On July 15, the Belarus Football Federation will decide how much Shmolik drank. It's likely the referee's 247th match in the league will be his last. A blood test taken at the stadium's medical unit Shmolik had a blood-alcohol content of 2.6 - or about one glass of vodka.

Shmolik says he took painkillers after the match as his spine hurt and went to the medical unit on his own initiative. Experts said Shmolik did in fact have a spinal injury.

Fans say Shmolik probably drank before coming onto the field. He kept cool until the thirtieth minute. Then he began moving awkwardly, half-slouched over. During halftime, a football inspector at the match told him he needed to move more. At the sixty-eighth minute, the referee stood in the central circle waiting for the end of the match. He was escorted off the field.