Most football fans will, at some point, have wondered aloud whether the referee was drunk when he gave that penalty or missed that blatant foul. But in the case of a Belarusian referee last week, the fans' worst suspicions were proved completely right.
Sergei Shmolik was refereeing a Belarusian Premier League match between FC Vitebsk and FC Naftan Novopolotsk on July 5 when, during the second half, the crowd noticed that he had begun behaving strangely.
By the end of the match (which ended in a 1 – 1 draw) reports suggest that Shmolik was barely able to move. Following the final whistle, after complaining of 'back pain', he had to be helped from the field – a tricky process which seemingly involved him walking like Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.
Shmolik was taken to hospital to receive treatment for his 'back pain' – where tests discovered that he had a high level of alcohol in his blood.
According to reports, the Football Federation of Belarus will have a disciplinary committee investigate Shmolik's behaviour.