Ukrainian soccer player caught using phone during game gets banned

KIEV, Ukraine — A Ukrainian footballer has been banned for making calls on his cellphone during a match.

Volodymyr Kozlenko was filmed speaking on his phone while playing for third-tier Ukrainian side Energiya Nova Kakhova against Premier League outfit Olimpik Donetsk during a friendly tournament near Kiev.

Kozlenko hid the phone in his shorts and, while on the pitch, ”got it out from time to time, called someone and conversed,” Olimpik said in a statement, branding his actions ”anti-football” and ”clownery.”

The Kiev Region Football Federation said on its website that Kozlenko had been suspended for the rest of the tournament and banned referee Oleksiy Drachov for failing to discipline him during the game.

Drachov’s assistant referees and the match delegate were also suspended.

Kozlenko’s team lost Tuesday’s group-stage game 2-1.