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Netherlands Player Consoles Grief-Stricken Ref Mid Match Dealing With Mother’s Death

Netherlands Virgil van Dijk hugged a ref who lost his mother after scoring a goal in a game vs Germany.

Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk showed class with a heart-warming embrace following his 90th-minute equalizer.

The Liverpool defender scored a tying goal in the soccer match clash between the Netherlands and Germany. His goal sent his country through to the finals in Portugal next summer.

But before the 27-year-old celebrated, he went over to hug referee Ovidiu Hategan. It was eventually reported that Hategan’s mother recently passed away but, the Romanian ref decided to officiate the game in Schalke, Germany.

BBC Sport on Twitter

Pure class from Virgil van Dijk . The Netherlands’ match-winning hero took time out from the celebrations to console the match referee over a bereavement. More here: https://t.co/fAr811Fl4K


“That man broke down, stood with tears in his eyes because he had just lost his mother,” Van Dijk told reporters. “I wished him strength and said that he had done well.”


Hearing stories like this is always great, especially considering people’s mixed experiences with referees. Plenty of times we’ve seen write-ups or moments with refs portrayed in a negative light. Everything from fans seeing crazy interactions between players and refs, like fighting. Or even in the NBA, media discussing the decline and impact of refereeing.

No matter what at the end of the day we are all human beings. And whether you are a ref or a player, sometimes we all need a little support to get through hard days.

Erin Ashey Simon is a writer, producer, host and contributor for The Shadow League. Host of Grass Routes Podcast and the NBA 2K League’s The Post Up, a former college athlete who passes the time playing flag football. Simon has previous work experience at Cycle Media, REVOLT TV, The Wall Street Journal, and more. Originally from New Jersey, Simon graduated from the University of Kentucky.