Soccer player dies after on-pitch fight in California

The 29-year-old died following a fight sparked by a referee’s decision

A soccer player has died in the United States, just over two weeks after being seriously injured in a mass brawl sparked by a controversial refereeing decision.

Misael Sanchez, 29, died following the July 10 incident which took place at Oxnard High School in California amid reports of a large scuffle that took place around 11 a.m. local time, with authorities discovering that Sanchez was unresponsive and not breathing at the scene.

It is understood that onlookers also took part in the brawl.

« Officers spoke to witnesses and learned the fight was between two adult football teams,reads a statement from the Oxnard Police Department.

« The fight took place when both teams disagreed with a referee’s decision. Sanchez was on the field playing football for one of the two teams when the fight broke out. During the fight, Sanchez was assaulted by multiple assailants.”

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Sanchez was listed as being in critical condition at the Ventura County Medical Center where he was treated after the incident, but died Monday from his injuries.

An autopsy is scheduled to determine the exact cause of his death.

An investigation has been opened into the circumstances surrounding Sanchez’s death and police are appealing for witnesses and anyone who may have captured video footage of the fight.

It was confirmed by the Ventura County Police Department that a man, Berlin Jose Melgara, 46, attempted to flee the scene of the fight and was later detained and arrested.

However, it’s still unclear what role – if any – Melgara played in the assault.

A crowdfunding campaign has been set up in memory of Sanchez.

« We weren’t ready for this kind of goodbye, »it reads. »At this time we ask for your prayers.”


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