NAPLES, Fla - Futsal referee Kathy Saba still can't believe what she saw in the middle of a championship match last month.
"We sometimes have misunderstandings between players," she told WINK News. "They get passionate. But never with a referee."
Futsal is a variant of soccer, often played on smaller fields and indoors.
Last month's state championship was a tense game between Naples' "Ecuador" team, and their opponent from Miami. The indoor soccer match was played at the Golden Gate Community Center. Saba says Miami was ahead by a point, until a last second goal tied the teams.
Saba say the call did not sit well with Miami team member Alain Raul Garcia-Perez. Cameras caught the 38-year-old running toward referee Sergio Pomajambo. What happened next was so quick, it's hard to see in the video. A player, identified as Garcia-Perez, appears aggressively confront the Pomajambo. For a moment, Garcia-Perez's hands can be seen behind his back. But after a quick movement, a crowd rushes in to intervene.
It's in that split second Saba says Pomajambo was headbutted and slapped, sending him to this knees.
Naples' Futsal league president was also at the game and tells WINK News nobody will tolerate violence.
"Nobody believed what was going on," Fernando Orellana said. "We don't tolerate bad behavior in Futsal."
Nearly a month after the incident, Garcia-Perez was arrested for battery on a sports official, a felony in Florida. Garcia-Perez made his first appearance in front of a Collier County judge on Wednesday.
"I think he went too far," Saba said of Garcia-Perez. "This is not the way people should act."
In addition to the charges he's now facing, officials also tell WINK News Garcia-Perez has been suspended indefinitely from Futsal and its associated sports.