The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA) on Monday imposed a conditional three-month suspension on Thorsten Theys, the financial director of KV Oostende. He will be fined on top of that. The reason is the criticism of referee Lawrence Visser, after the defeat against Standard (1-0) at the end of August.
Thorsten Theys – the operational director of Ostend – has been sentenced by the Disciplinary Committee to a conditional suspension of 3 months. When KVO lost to Standard after Selim Amallah seemed to score from offside, Theys sent a series of whatsapp messages to competition manager Thibault De Gendt in which he did not shy away from the foul language. He mentioned, among other things, “most likely corrupt and moronic arbitrators.”
The federal prosecutor had demanded 6 months of effective suspension, but it did not come to that. Theys had a conciliatory conversation with Stefanie Forde of the Referee Department and Pro League CEO Pierre François. Ostend argued that the 3D technology that could have signaled the offside could indeed be used in Belgium, but that the VARs had not yet received the training due to a lack of time and money. The fact that Theys made the statements in a private chat and had not made them public himself also spoke in his favor. He was eventually punished for causing damage to the football authorities and violating the fair play rules.
In addition, Ostend was acquitted for the harsh statement that the club had posted on its website after the loss to Standard. If this is done correctly, clubs have the right to freedom of expression, because Cercle, Ghent or Antwerp, among others, have already taken hard positions against the arbitration. KVO is partly responsible for the statements of Theys, which means that it has to pay a fine of 2500 euros.
However, not everything is done yet. Ostend and Theys are not being prosecuted for the champagne incident against Zulte Waregem when a bottle of champagne disappeared from the fridge of the refs. That has been clarified. The federal prosecutor’s office demands another 9 months suspension against Thorsten Theys because he gave a speech before that match in the VIP hall – in decent terms – in which he addressed “the amateurism of the football association”. That case was adjourned yesterday.