Bogota: Top Colombian referee Oscar Ruiz has been hospitalised after being found unconscious and suffering with apparent symptoms of intoxication from “drunken cocoa” at his Villavicencio home on Friday, his father has said.
Oscar Ruiz Sr. said his son, who has officiated at three World Cups and numerous internationals in South America, appeared to be suffering from the effects of scopolamine, which is extracted from a plant known in Colombia as drunken cocoa.
“It seems he was a victim of scopolamine, he is being examined to rule out brain damage and a blood analysis is being made to see what problems might come from the scopolamine,” Oscar Ruiz senior told reporters.
Scopolamine can cause memory loss.
Ruiz Sr. said his lawyer and university professor son, named the world’s third best referee of the decade by FIFA’s statistics body IFFHS, was found pale with a vacant look in his eyes and could not answer questions.
He was scheduled to referee Tuesday’s match between Newell’s Old Boys of Argentina and Ecuador’s LDU Quito, the first leg of a quarter-final tie in the Copa Sudamericana, the region’s equivalent of the Europa League.