Players Banned for Insulting Referees: Is Erling Haaland Next After Meltdown in Man City vs Spurs?

Players Banned for Insulting Referees: Is Erling Haaland Next After Meltdown in Man City vs Spurs?

Joel Reyes
updated at December 4, 2023 at 3:43 PM
In this article:
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  • Erling Haaland reacted furiously after referee Simon Hooper’s blunder on Sunday
  • Virgil Van Dijk and Reece James were handed one-match bans for verbally abusing officials
  • Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwa were banned from European competition for several matches

Erling Haaland went ballistic after referee Simon Hooper denied Manchester City a promising attacking opportunity in the closing stages of their match against Tottenham.

The Norwegian forward is in danger of being suspended following his referee outburst.

Sports Brief looks at the players who have served bans for insulting referees in football matches before.

Erling Haaland, Manchester City, Tottenham, Premier League, Didier Drogba, Virgil Van Dijk, Reece James, Jose Bosingwa
Referee Simon Hooper is surrounded by Erling Haaland, Mateo Kovacic and Ruben Dias of Manchester City. Image: James Gill.
Source: Getty Images

Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool, 2023)

Van Dijk was handed an additional one-game ban and a £100,000 fine after admitting he acted in an improper manner following his red card in Liverpool’s match against Newcastle United on August 27.

Referee John Brooks sent off Van Dijk for a foul on Newcastle’s Alexander Isak during the first half of the Reds’ 2-1 victory at St James’ Park.

The defender reacted angrily to his dismissal in the 29th minute, remonstrating with Brooks before leaving the pitch, per The Guardian.

Reece James (Chelsea, 2023)

The Blues captain was handed a one-match suspension and a £90,000 fine after he aimed abusive words at a match official in the Stamford Bridge tunnel following Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Aston Villa on September 24.

The England international was found to be at fault for breaching FA rule E3, per

Aldo Rocha (Atlas, 2023)

The Atlas captain was handed a three-match suspension after he insulted referee Marco Antonio Ortiz during the game against Mazatlan.

He was given a one-game ban for the two yellow cards he received during stoppage time and an additional two-match suspension for insulting the match officials at Jalisco Stadium with profanity.

Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid, 2019)

Costa was handed an eight-match ban by the Spanish Football Federation after the striker was found guilty of abusing referee Jesus Gil Manzano during Atletico Madrid’s 2-0 loss to Barcelona on April 6, 2019.

According to the referee’s match report, the Spanish star insulted Manzano’s mother.

Half of Costa’s suspension relates to his abusive comments towards the referee. The other half relates to him grabbing the referee’s arm during the argument.

Dimitri Payet (Olympique de Marseille, 2019)

Payet was handed a four-match ban by the French league for insulting referee Amaury Delerue in the closing stages of Marseille’s 1-1 draw against Montpellier on September 21, 2019.

According to Delerue’s match report, he received three insults from the France international after he was booked.

Didier Drogba (Chelsea, 2009)

Drogba was banned from European competition for six matches (two suspended) after he made offensive comments towards Danish referee Tom Henning Ovrebo following Chelsea’s second-leg clash with Barcelona in the 2008-09 Champions League semi-finals.

The Ivory Coast star insulted the official after the Blues were eliminated on away goals.

He was angered by the referee’s failure to award a penalty to Chelsea.

Jose Bosingwa (Chelsea, 2009)

Like Drogba, Bosingwa was banned from European competition by UEFA’s disciplinary panel for several matches for insulting the referee after the Chelsea vs. Barcelona game. He was handed a four-match ban (one suspended).

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Haaland's angry reaction

Sports Brief recently reported on Haaland's furious reaction after the City vs. Spurs clash.

He was storming off the pitch following the 3-3 draw.

Haaland and the rest of the City camp were angered by a refereeing decision that went against them.

Joel Reyes photo
Joel Reyes
Joel Reyes is a sports editor at with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines. He has eight years of work experience in sports writing.