PARIS (AP) — Call it referee rage.
French official Tony Chapron kicked out in retribution at Nantes defender Diego Carlos during a league game on Sunday, and then promptly showed Carlos a red card.
The bizarre incident happened moments from the end of Paris Saint-Germain’s 1-0 win at Nantes.
Carlos was running behind Chapron near the halfway line, and trying to catch up with play, when he inadvertently clipped the referee’s heels.
Chapron rolled forward onto the turf and then, a split-second after tumbling, swiped his right leg at Carlos — like a player would do when making a cynical foul on an opponent.
He caught Carlos below the knee, around the shin area, prompting the 24-year-old Brazilian to shrug his shoulders in bewilderment.
Not finished yet, Chapron got up and showed Carlos a second yellow card.
Television cameras capturing the incident showed Nantes president Waldemar Kita, who burst out laughing at the dismissal.
“It’s a joke,” Kita said after the game. “What do you want me to say? If I say too much I will be summoned.”
“Honestly, the whole of Europe is laughing here,” Kita added. “The player is on the receiving end and it’s him who gets a (red) card. There’s a problem here.”
Nantes midfielder Valentin Rongier was also unhappy.
“I found the referee’s reaction totally absurd,” Rongier said. “Diego didn’t do it on purpose.”
Players are often sanctioned after games due to video evidence and — ironically — referee’s reports.
Rongier wants similar rules applied to Chapron and feels he should be suspended.
“I hope he will be judged … He needs to set the example and shouldn’t be doing this kind of thing,” Rongier said. “I asked him how he can allow himself to kick (Carlos), and he dared say to me that he slipped. It makes me laugh.”
Carlos certainly did not see the funny side, shaking his head as he walked off.
Social media did not spare Chapron, who faced a wave of mockery.
One Twitter user compared him to a UFC competitor specializing in low kicks. Another created a mock-up Wikipedia page to show Chapron with a record of 45 wins — and 34 knockouts — from 56 fights.
Chapron is due to referee again on Wednesday when Angers faces Troyes with players likely to be on their best behavior.