Referee sent to prison and banned after controversial penalty decision

A Serbian referee has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for ‘abuse of authority’ after awarding a shocking penalty in the country’s top-flight.

Srdjan Obradovic, who has also been handed a ten-year suspension of officiating, was found guilty of charges regarding a Serbian SuperLiga match back in 2018.

Obradovic awared Spartak Subotica a bizarre penalty in the closing stages of their match with Radnicki Nis.

The ruling, which can be appealed, was handed down by the Anti-Corruption Chamber of the High Court of Novi Sad.

Spartak faced off against Radnicki in the penultimate game of the season, knowing the winner would secure qualification into the Europa League.

The home side would win the game 2-0, but only after Obradovic awarded two penalties, with the second particularly galling for Radnicki.

Following a low cross into the box, the referee pointed to the spot, seeming to suggest the defender had handled the ball.

Radnicki players confronted Obradovic, while Spartak appeared stunned with the awarding.

Replays showed the ball struck the heel of the Radnicki defender, with local press describing the decision as ‘scandalous’.

The awarding of the penalty came after Obradovic had sent off Radnicki striker Milan Pavkov, awarded him two yellow cards in a matter of minutes.

Pavkov attended the trial and was a key witness in the prosecution’s case against the referee.

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  • Police officers questioned the official after the match, amid claims his decisions had raised questions about the possibility of match fixing.

    The court heard from the defence that Obradovic believed he had seen a handball, an assumption backed up by his assistant at the time.

    As well as his prison sentence, he has been banned from holding any position within the Serbian FA until at least 2031.

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