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Man charged after linesman's jaw broken in Australian amateur league

SYDNEY - A 25-year-old man has been charged with assault after an attack on a linesman in a lower league match in southwest Sydney at the weekend left the official with a broken jaw and several missing teeth.

Khodr Yaghi, 45, was taken to hospital after being punched repeatedly in the face and kicked in the head by a spectator after a match between Greenacre Eagles and Padstow Hornets in an amateur league in the Bankstown area of the city on Friday.

After video of the assault was widely shared on social media, the 25-year-old man, who Bankstown district football authorities said was allegedly a suspended player, was arrested at a police station on Sunday.

"It's alleged the man assaulted the referee by punching him multiple times in the face and kicking him to the head," Bankstown police said in a statement. He was charged with wounding a person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and affray, it added.

Warning: Graphic video

The attack on Yaghi was widely condemned by football authorities and by New South Wales Sports Minister Steve Kamper, who described it as "disgusting and cowardly."

Greenacre Eagles issued a statement on Instagram saying that violence would not be tolerated at the club and announcing that it had withdrawn from the competition for the remainder of the season.

Yaghi, who has been refereeing matches for nearly a quarter of a century, told the Sydney Morning Herald that his jaw had been broken in three places and he had lost three teeth but he was determined to continue officiating.

"No one will stop me from refereeing, ever," he told the newspaper.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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