French referee Tony Chapron banned for three months for tripping player
Tony Chapron, the French referee who kicked out at a Nantes player, has been banned for three months, with an additional three-month suspended ban.
Chapron had been stood down from duty by the Ligue de Football Professionnel following the incident in Paris Saint-Germain's 1-0 win over Nantes on Jan. 14.
He had been knocked to the ground in an accidental collision with Diego Carlos before kicking out at the Nantes defender and showing him a second yellow card. Chapron apologised the day after the incident and Carlos' second yellow card was rescinded.
The LFP confirmed his punishment on Thursday. The initial three-month ban could allow him to return before the end of season. The supplemental ban will come into effect if there are any further incidents.
The 45-year-old has already said he had planned to retire this summer, according to L'Equipe.
On the night of the Ligue 1 fixture, Nantes president Waldemar Kita called for Chapron to be banned for six months.
"I got 20 text messages from all over the world telling me the referee was a joke," Kita told L'Equipe. "What do you want me to say? If I talk too much I will be called before the disciplinary commission. We don't have the right to say anything.
"It's scandalous to see that. He gives a red card to a player who did nothing. He needs to go back to school. It's amateurish. I've never seen anything like it. He needs to be suspended for six months. If we did it, we would be banned for six months."
Chapron will be able to officiate again from May 6, the date when the third-from-last round of Ligue 1 matches is scheduled to take place.
The body that oversees referees in France, the Technical Directorate of Refereeing (DTA), opened the door to a potential return to the pitch, saying: "The Technical Directorate of Refereeing notes the decision of the French Football League's Disciplinary Commission," the DTA's Technical Director Pascal Garibian said in a statement reported by L'Equipe. "Once he has served his suspension, Tony Chapron will again be available to the DTA, who could designate him for Ligue 1 or Ligue 2 matches."
Chapron had given his version of events to the Commission before leaving the hearing in Paris without comment.
"Mr Chapron confirmed the version he has given from the start, that is to say a gut reaction that he regrets and he immediately apologised to the player," the referee's lawyer, Samuel Chevret, told media before the Commission's verdict was announced.
"The hearing occured in a calm and respectful manner, which contrasts with the trial and lynching by media which followed the match in question."
ESPN FC's Ian Holyman contributed to this report.