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A mother who spat into the face of a teenage referee at her son's junior football game has been convicted of assault.
Oksana Karaliova, 34, was sent off from the sidelines then spat twice in the young official’s face after the under-9s match.
Her husband Lazaro Garcia, 44, who also got a red card as he watched the game in Salford, Greater Manchester, grabbed him by the throat after the final whistle.
Oksana Karaliova, 34, spat into the face of a teenage referee after she disagreed with his decisions during an under 9s football game. Her husband Lazara Garcia also grabbed the 16-year-old by the throat
The couple, from Salford, were both angered by decisions made by the 16-year-old during the game - and subjected him to a tirade of expletive-laden abuse. They denied common assault but were found guilty after a day-long trial at Manchester magistrates court.
The shocking incident took place in November, during and after a junior league game between Barr Hill under-9s and Moorside Rangers under-9s at Barr Hill Playing Fields in Salford.
The court heard that the ugly scenes were witnessed by eight-year-olds and reported to police, who launched an immediate investigation backed by the Football Association.
Giving evidence the young ref, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court he had been qualified for three years and that parents and the two clubs were fully aware of the FA’s Respect code of conduct and campaign.
He said trouble flared after a tackle he left unpunished because he believed the young player had slipped. Karaliova, a mature student at Salford University, began to hurl obscenities at him.
The teenager has now quit full-time refereeing because of the incident
The court heard that the ugly scenes at Barr Hill Playing Fields were witnessed by eight-year-olds and reported to police, who launched an immediate investigation backed by the Football Association
The teenager said: 'I walked up to the lady and said "what did you say?".
'She said ‘are you f****** serious? You are a f****** ******* and you do not know what you are doing.'
He told the court that he sent her off but she refused to go then lit a cigarette.
Karaliova, the ref went on, told him that she would be waiting for him at the end of the match and demanded that he gave her his contact details and his address.
The court heard Garcia, who works at the Lowry Hotel in Salford, was also sent off by the referee after he questioned his reasoning for giving his wife a red card, saying: 'Is this a f****** joke?'
The ref said: 'They had no respect for what I was doing. I felt really intimidated and I didn’t know what was going to happen at the end.
'I was on my own.'
The ref, now 17, said Karaliova approached him as he walked back to the clubhouse after the game and said "I have got something for you referee" before she spat in his face.
He said he tried to stop her walking off and Garcia approached.
The ref said: 'He grabbed me by the throat and at that point was threatening me and shouting at my face. His wife came over my shoulder and spat in my face again. I didn’t know what they were going to do. I rang my dad straight away.'
The teenager has now quit full-time refereeing because of the incident.
Marcus Corfield, a Moorside coach, said of Garcia: 'In all my years of football I have never seen anything like it.'
Giving evidence, the couple denied the attacks ever happened, but magistrates called their evidence implausible. They were released on bail and will be sentenced on June 2.
After the hearing, Manchester FA chief executive Colin Bridgford said: 'This behaviour has to be challenged throughout junior football and we all have to play our part in that.'