Teplice - It was meant to be a tribute to the late former coach of FC Teplice Vlastislav Mareček who died recently at the age of 41. Instead, yesterday's Czech football league match between the team he once coached and Sparta Praha ended up in a skirmish which was hardly dignified.
The melée was sparked by a verbal exchange at the side line towards the end of the match with the feelings running high as the home squad was leading Sparta 2:1.
Sparta captain Tomáš Řepka joined in, apparently trying to defend his coach Michal Bílek who was being sent away from the bench by the referee.
Agitated Řepka started verbally insulting the home team officials setting off a brawl as other players on an off the field came to confront or defend him.
Once the situation somewhat calmed down, Řepka saw his second yellow card and started making his exit in a rather theatrical way, all the time being followed by the cameraman from Czech TV which was broadcasting the match live on its sports channel.
When the punished player noticed his presence he punched the camera, nearly sending the unsuspecting cameraman to the ground. Only then he made off to the locker rooms.
"It is still too early to judge what exactly had happened. The first thing we will do is to read the match report by the (Czech Footballl Asociation's) delegate and the referee," the head of the Football Association's Disciplinary Committee Alexander Károlyi told Aktuálně.cz.
"Only then we will make decision whether to call participants and witnesses to a special hearing, for example," said Károlyi who saw the incident on TV. His committee is to discuss the matter at its Thursday meeting.
The 33-year old Řepka returned to Sparta after years spent in Italy and England playing for Fiorentina and West Ham United, respectively. He used to be on the national team as well.
The tough-tackling play he is known for has been widely discussed ever since he returned from Britain. Until now though, he has only seen yellow cards (16 in total) for his signature on-the-edge defending.
After he was recently named the new team captain, it started to look like he might finally calm down.
Playing his fortieth league match for Sparta on Sunday, he did not manage to keep his cool though and saw his first red card in this latest stint of his in the Czech league. With all the expletives coming from him being caught and broadcast nation-wide by the Czech TV, he might have considered himself lucky to stay on the field in Teplice the whole 90 minutes.
Coach Bílek initially did not want to comment on the incident, but the club later apologized to the national broadcaster.
The new woes of Sparta Praha come shortly after another of their star players, midfielder Pavel Horváth, was fined 200 thousand Czech Crowns (roughly 10 thousand USD) for "tarnishing the good image of Czech football" by "using the visual part of Nazi salute" while trying to calm down rowdy Sparta fans during the last minute of the recent match against their city rival Viktoria Žižkov.
The club is taking the issue seriously, said member of the board Lukáš Přibyl.
"This case is much more serious for us than the one involving Pavel Horváth who was acting in good faith and with good intentions," Přibyl told Aktuálně.cz.
The club also decided today to fine Řepka 150 thousand CZK (7,5 thousand USD) and assistent coach Martin Abraham 50 thousand CZK (2,5 thousand USD) while coach Bílek was absolved.
Diskuse: Raging Czech football star attacks a cameraman