Noted feline enthusiast and NK Medimurje goalkeeper Ivan Banovic had an up-and-down weekend: helping a cat, failing to prevent defeat away at Sibenik, and getting punished by the referee for his troubles.
20 minutes into the T-Com Prva HNL league game, Banovic abandoned his goal to scoop up a stray kitten who’d wandered onto the pitch, leaving the field to carry the cat to safety. A noble act indeed, until the referee booked Banovic for leaving the field of play without permission. Surely some leniency can be applied to an animal lover? According to attending media, Sibenik fans booed the ref for the rest of the game thanks to his objective interpretation of the rule book, though they were happy in the end as Sibenik prevailed 1-0 to move to 2nd in the league table.
Still, it brings up the notion of the rulebook on a case-by-case basis. Banovic was surely protecting the cat and the fairness of the game via his kind-hearted deed; imagine if the kitten had blocked a goal-bound shot, injuring itself in the process? And yet, the ref’s actions remind us that in this game we call soccer, the laws must be applied as they’re written (except in the case of egregious cheating via handballs OH GOD LOOK I’VE ONLY GONE AND MENTIONED IT AGAIN!).
Best of luck to Banovic and NK Medimurje this season. May they be so contientious for the remainder of their games.
(and for those of you curious, here is the precious kitty in question)