Support overwhelms referee as alleged attacker jailed

·3-min read

A severely injured soccer referee has been overwhelmed with support as his alleged jaw-breaking attacker stares at his own life-changing moment.

Khodr Yaghi, 45, underwent reconstructive surgery in a Sydney hospital on Monday, three days after he was bashed by a spectator after a match in Sydney's southwest.

The attack, which broke Mr Yaghi's jaw in three places and knocked out three teeth, drew widespread condemnation from the football faithful, politicians and the wider community.

Fay Yaghi on Monday afternoon thanked friends and family, soccer communities and colleagues and the wider public for their support of her husband.

"(We're) really overwhelmed by the kindness of the community," she told AAP on Monday.

Mr Yaghi earlier told media from his hospital bed he felt lucky to be alive and did not want his children to see the extent of his injuries.

He was attacked from behind, copping three "king hits" on the back of the neck, with doctors telling him any one of the blows could have killed him, he told Sky News.

"Luckily I'm still on my feet," he said.

Following Monday's hours-long surgery, his recovery is expected to take up to eight weeks.

But the experienced referee and soccer enthusiast remains determined to fulfil his role as a volunteer at the FIFA Women's World Cup in July.

Eight weeks is also the period Mr Yaghi's alleged attacker was ordered to spend behind bars after he failed to secure release on bail in Bankstown Local Court on Monday.

Adam Abdallah, 25, from Villawood presented himself to Bankstown police on Sunday afternoon after a video of Friday's attack went viral on social media, is yet to plead to charges including wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Police have been ordered to prepare a brief of evidence in time for the next court mention on June 28.

Abdallah was a suspended player for Greenacre Eagles, which withdrew from the rest of the men's premier league winter season and promised to help the local association impose appropriate sanctions.

Sports Minister Steve Kamper, a past president of Sydney Olympic Football Club, said he had sought assurances from governing body Football NSW that the strongest possible action would be taken over the attack on Mr Yaghi.

"This is one of the worst attacks I've ever seen at any sporting event at any level," he told AAP in a statement.

"This was a disgusting and cowardly attack. It goes without saying that this kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable."

Premier Chris Minns described the attack as "absolutely shocking and appalling" and lauded Mr Yaghi's commitment to return to the sporting field.

"He showed so much dignity getting off the ground saying nothing's going to stop him being a referee for his local community," he told Seven's Sunrise program.

Football NSW said it had no tolerance for any antisocial behaviour from any of its participants at any time.

"(We) will be providing ongoing assistance and support to the Bankstown Football Association on this matter over the ensuing weeks," it said in a statement.

Mr Yaghi has officiated in Sydney for decades, including in National Premier Leagues NSW, part of Australian football's third tier.

He had been a sideline official in Friday's match between Greenacre Eagles and Padstow Hornets and was helped by players from both teams.

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