Referee Empathizes On Mohammed Kudus’ Shirt Removal In Paying Tribute To Christian Atsu


Following the tragic passing of Christian Atsu, 31, tributes across the footballing world have been pouring in, including from his Blackstars team-mate Mohammed Kudus.

Mohammed Kudus praised referee Pol van Boekel after he decided to not book the Ajax forward for his tribute to the late Christian Atsu.

Atsu’s death was tragically confirmed last week after his body was found beneath the rubble following the devastating earthquakes in Turkey. The Ghana international had played for Hatayspor on the Sunday before the 7.8 magnitude quake hit Turkey and Syria.

Since the heart-breaking announcement, there have been emotional tributes worldwide, including at Premier League games involving his former clubs, Chelsea and Newcastle. Atsu’s family were in attendance at St James’ Park as Newcastle and Liverpool’s fans came together to remember the winger.

 Mohammed Kudus dedicated his own tribute during Ajax’s 4-0 win over Sparta Rotterdam. The 22-year-old scored the fourth and final goal and wheeled away before pulling his shirt over his head to reveal a vest with the message “RIP Atsu.”

Usually, these emotional moments are usually punctured by officials sticking to the letter of law and issuing a yellow card. However, on this occasion Van Boekel opted to keep his cards in his pocket, understanding the gravity of the situation.

“We have football rules but this is beyond football, this is about life and death,” Kudus said after the game. “The referee told me it’s not allowed (shirt removal) but he understands because this is a bigger situation than football. Big respect from me to the referee.”

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