A Serbian referee has been banned for life after he conducted a budget version of VAR by using a fan’s phone to overrule a decision.
But there has been an outpouring of support for the official – including from Serbian ex-Premier League star Nemanja Matic.
A clip of the referee, Stefan Lazovic, went viral after an incident in a lower league Serbian game – much to the horror of football chiefs in the country.
The footage showed Lazovic watching a video of an awarded goal on a fans phone during the game.
It then shows him opting to rule the goal out – much to the delight of the onlooking fans.
Serbia’s football officials weren’t impressed, though, with The Sun reporting that he has been banned for life for his antics.
But the decision to relieve Lazovic of his services has sparked fury among fans – so much so that even former Manchester United and Chelsea midfielder Matic has come out to support his compatriot.
On a post written in support of the referee on Instagram, the now-Roma star commented with a raised hands emoji, showing he agreed Lazovic had been hard done by.
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“Support for Stefan Lazovic!” the post by ftbl.serbia said.
“Why should only he suffer, why such a rigorous sentence, why a lifetime ban from trial? How is it possible that there is no penalty for the delegate and all other authorities from the responsible FS of that district?
“How could the match be allowed to be played without one assistant referee?! Who is responsible here? Why does Stefan’s spear break?
“At the end of the day, the fact that he watched the video and changed the decision, just shows that he wanted everything to be FAIR!
“He talks about the fact that he was not a slave to his vanity, but he admitted and corrected his mistake.”
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