Suspended Referee Ivan Bebek Tells His Side of Hajduk Story

By 4 October 2021
Suspended Referee Ivan Bebek Tells His Side of Hajduk Story
Davor Javorovic/PIXSELL

October 4, 2021 - Suspended referee Ivan Bebek tells his side of the story after an audio recording of him insulting Hajduk and a Split journalist.

"I have been doing my job conscientiously since day one. Football is my life, and I don’t want anyone to take it away from me for a private message. It was easier for me to bear it after the support that came, just people from Dalmatia. I can say that I was wrong, but what I said at no time was intended for the public," Bebek said.

"Mijaukanje (meowing) is a colloquial, benign term I often use. This was thought to be about the fans. A mark for objecting or seeking the reason for defeat in the referee's decision, whether correct or not. I apologize if anyone misunderstood this," Bebek added, noting that he wanted to explain how this came about:

"I get threats and insults every few days. I try not to let it affect me, but obviously, after the "kill Bebek" shouts it's not like that. I was also physically attacked. Let me have a moment with a friend in which I say something inappropriate. This is the hardest moment of my career. Something that encroaches on the sphere of trying to show me what I am not. When I read about myself, I wonder if it’s me. How can I defend myself against the thesis that the word “meow” is so ugly? At no point did I refer to Hajduk or Hajduk fans," Bebek said, adding that he considered his credibility as a referee not to be undermined by this.

"I have been feeling uncomfortable coming to Split for a long time," he admitted.

"It is not easy for the players, the presidents or the fans, and journalists have their tasks. I fully understand that and from this point of view when I am calm I can understand some things, but not all," concluded Bebek.

After the recording was published, the president of the HNS, Marijan Kustić, reported Bebek to the Disciplinary Commission, which decided to initiate disciplinary proceedings and suspended Bebek until a decision was made on a possible punishment.

After the 10th round HNL match between Hajduk and Lokomotiva, which was refereed at Poljud, Bebek insulted Hajduk fans and Split journalist Blaž Duplančić in a private conversation. This all stemmed from a controversial moment in the 9th minute of the match when there was contact between Livaja and De Haas, after which Bebek did not award a penalty kick for Hajduk nor did he consult VAR.

Hajduk immediately requested a statement from HNS, and HNS hastily opened an investigation, forwarding the entire case to the Disciplinary Commission for urgent resolution.

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