Bruised referee Alex King keen for quick return

Sportem
Sportem
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Heroic referee Alex King is determined to return to the field as soon as possible despite being struck on the head by pitch-invading Melbourne Victory fans on Australian football’s night of shame at AAMI Park.

Risking his own safety, King came to the rescue of Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover, who suffered a cut face being his by bin-carrying Victory supporter who was among about 150 people to storm on to the pitch after 20 minutes of the Melbourne derby.

While Glover ended up in hospital, King was able to return to his home state of Queensland on Sunday despite nursing a bruise on top of his head.

Football Australia referees’ boos Nathan Magill said King was “physically fine”.

“But obviously like most of us, a bit stunned abut the behaviour of 150 people who took it upon themselves to enter the pitch,” said Magill after the pair met on Sunday prior to King’s flight back to Brisbane.

While referees have a duty of care towards players, Magill said people reacted differently in certain situations

“This was a really unique situation … so credit to Alex for reacting the way he did, prioritising, Tommy Glover’s well-being despite it putting him in a difficult situation, he said,

“For those who don’t know about Alex, he cares about people. He just went over to Tom and thought ‘let’s get out of here together.

“It’s quite brave of him to try to help someone else out.”

Magill said the incident had not deterred King – who has a FIFA badge – from refereeing.

“Kingy’s very determined to get back out there and not let what happened impact him because he’s keen to contribute to Australian football,” he said.

“The next 24-48 hours is really critical in terms of how he feels, then we’ll continue to monitor him.”

Magill said the assault of King would affect refereeing numbers.

“It’s not a great look for the game. It impacts everyone, including our recruitment drive – that’s for sure,” he said.

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