Monday, June 04, 2007

Soccer: 'Incredibly stupid' Danish fan sorry for attacking referee

The Danish fan who tried to attack the referee during a European Championship qualifier between Denmark and Sweden has apologized.

The 29-year-old Dane, who was not identified, ran onto the field and threw a punch at a German referee, Herbert Fandel, in the final moments of the Group F match Saturday.

"It was incredibly stupid of me," the man said in the Monday edition of a Swedish tabloid, Aftonbladet. "I want to apologize to Denmark, Sweden and the referee for my inhuman behavior."

The fan was infuriated by Fandel's decision to award Sweden a penalty in the 89th-minute and the sending off a Danish midfielder, Christian Poulsen, with the score tied at 3-3 after Denmark had rallied from a 3-0 deficit.

"People in Denmark hate me, but I have no feeling yet what the reaction in Sweden is, other than they of course believe I am an idiot," he was quoted in a Danish tabloid, Ekstra Bladet.

The Danish newspaper identified him by the initial "R," while Aftonbladet decided not to publish his name citing "the serious threat" against him.

Danish police confirmed that numerous text messages have been sent with his name and address.

The Dane, who lives in Sweden, told a court hearing Sunday that he had consumed 15 to 20 beers before storming the field. He said he could not remember the attack, only when a Danish defender, Michael Gravgaard, pushed him away from Fandel.

"I am incredibly happy that he stopped me before something worse could have happened," the assailant said, according another Danish tabloid, B.T.

The supporter was released after the court hearing and described himself as "a bad loser."

Investigators are now preparing formal charges against the man.

Danish officials initially said Sweden had been awarded a 3-0 forfeit victory. But UEFA officials said they need to see written reports from Fandel and his team of officials and will make a ruling before the next European qualifying matches Wednesday.


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