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Inter youth player handed two year ban

Wilfred Gnoukouri received a two year suspension due to an incident with a referee

Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

We've talked before about some of the high points of Inter's Youth Academy, but today we have to talk about a more troubling incident that occurred during a match between the Inter Allevi team and Atalanta during the San Bonifacio International Tournament.

Wilfred Gnoukouri, the brother of Inter midfielder Assane Gnoukouri, was playing in the match and recieved a yellow card. He vehemently protested this decision and was subsequently sent off. The young striker continued to protest and according to the referee in his official statement, he "voluntarily hit the referee in charge of the match, causing him physical pain and leading to his decision to conclude the match early". The referee also alleged that the 16 year old continued to behave threateningly and tried to attack him again. Due to the information in the report he has been handed a suspension that lasts until May 2018. The footage of the confrontation can be found here.

I understand that violence on the pitch is entirely unacceptable, and that referees need to feel safe in order to do their jobs, but this seems a bit ridiculous. I don't see any action in that video worthy of a two year ban. Yes he deserves to be punished but the extent of the suspension that was handed down is more than excessive. Inter of course will appeal this decision, basing their defense on footage of players reacting similarly but only receiving suspensions of 5 or 6 matches. Hopefully Gnoukouri's suspension is reduced but I hope he also learns from this experience to keep his cool in the future.