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Soccer-Attacked by players, Lebanese referee quits

March 9 (Reuters) - Lebanese referee Bachir Awasa was glad to have escaped alive after being assaulted by players and staff in a domestic second division match last weekend but the official has decided to quit following the horrid experience.
Awasa was kicked and chased around the pitch in Beirut after showing a red card to an Al-Nahda player in Saturday's match against Al-Salam Zgharta.
"From the reaction of the players and the staff I expected to be harmed in a grave way ... to be honest I did not expect to get out alive," the referee told Al Jadeed television on Friday.
"Usually, whenever we issue a red card we expect a reaction from the player ... and indeed that is what happened. He ran after me and attacked me.
"When he tried to hit me I tried to run and then coach Mahmoud Seif Eddine also attacked me and other staff ran after me and things got out of hand and I tried to run from one place to the other."
Lebanese football is already battling a major image crisis after the FA handed out various penalties to 24 players, including life bans for defender Ramez Dayoub and forward Mahmoud El-Ali, following allegations that international and regional games were rigged.
Awasa urged the football association to protect the referees, while ruling out reversing his decision to quit.
"It's my final decision," he said.

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