Referee Accuses Soccer Player of Striking Him

WHEELING — Emotions erupted Tuesday in the final seconds of a Wheeling Jesuit University soccer game, and a visiting player accused of headbutting the referee may be charged.

Soccer official Erik Blackburn of Industry, Pa., told city police he pulled a penalty card before a Shepherd University player spit in his face and landed the blow. The player was reportedly pulled away from Blackburn by teammates, and he now is facing a charge of battery.

The player told investigators he yelled at the referee, but he did not intentionally spit on him. The report does not indicate whether the player gave official statements regarding the alleged headbutt. Officers reviewed game footage, but it was inconclusive.

Today, Shepherd University Athletic Director Karl Wolf said the player is a sophomore transfer student. He said the incident is a source of concern, but officials there have received few details. Wolf said school officials will take statements before making “any decisions.”

Wheeling Jesuit University Athletic Director Danny Sancomb was not at the game, but he described the situation as “very unfortunate if the allegations are true.”

He is not aware of such an incident ever occurring during one of the school’s athletic contests.

Wheeling Jesuit won Tuesday’s game 2-0. Shepherd University is located in Shepherdstown, W.Va. The Jefferson County university is situated in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia near Maryland.

Blackburn’s testimony will be sent to the office of Ohio County Prosecutor Scott Smith for review. A copy of the DVD was collected by police as evidence.