Baltimore Blast owner Ed Hale was fined approximately $1,000 yesterday for calling veteran Major Soccer League referee Toros Kibritjian "the worst referee in the league" last week.
MSL commissioner Earl Foreman announced that he was fining Hale for "a breach of league rules" that forbids public criticism of referees.
Foreman wouldn't disclose the amount of the fine but a league source said it "reached four figures."
Foreman said: "Ed understandably spoke from anger and I've acted accordingly. It was an easy decision to make. Ed is usually right and he was right when he said he would be fined."
Hale couldn't be reached for comment last night. He isn't expected to return from vacation until today, but he won't be surprised to learn of the penalty.
"I know Earl is going to fine me big time for this," Hale said when he delivered the verbal blast against Kibritjian eight days ago, "but I can't stand by and let this go on anymore. I don't feel like we get a fair shake when Toros Kibritjian does our games. He waves his finger in front of our players' faces and acts more as an intimidator than a mediator to Billy Ronson, Tim Wittman and Mike Stankovic. He's the worst referee in the league."
Hale also said: "I hope we never see Toros Kibritjian again at one of our games home or away. He's come into Baltimore and refereed two games that were the worst I've ever seen."
Foreman said he would respond to any "specific instances" of bad calls by Kibritjian if Hale presented them, but there was no way he could allow the Blast owner to openly criticize the official.
Hale's comments were in violation of an MSL regulation regarding public criticism.
The regulation reads: "No representative of any club or of the league shall publicly criticize any representative of any club or of the league."