Football Violence: The Ugly side of The Beautiful Game

There were terrible scenes at St Andrews today involving a Birmingham City fan running on to the pitch and assaulting Aston Villa talisman Jack Grealish from behind. Grealish had the last laugh and a sense of justice was restored as he went on to score the only goal of the game, and Villa won the derby 1-0. Amid all the controversy regarding today’s events, we take a look at some other shocking cases of a similar nature that are tarnishing the sport we love.

1. Sporting Lisbon players attacked at training ground

In May 2018, a group of 50 fans attacked players and staff following a string of bad results. The incident resulted in Dutch striker Bas Dost receiving some nasty cuts to the top of his head, and seven players, including Dost terminated their contract as a result. Dost shortly after agreed to remain at the club, but other star players such as Portuguese international William Carvalho left as a result of the incident.

2. Chris Kirkland assaulted during game by Leeds fan

During a Championship match between Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United at Hillsborough, Leeds supporter Aaron Cawley invaded the pitch and shoved Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland in the face before returning to the stands. Cawley was soon apprehended, and stated to police he was so drunk he could not remember his actions. He pleaded guilty to assault, and was sentenced to 16 weeks jail and banned from attending football matches for six years.

3. Serbian fans invade pitch and attack Albania players

In a Euro 2016 qualifier, a man flew a drone over the pitch with a flag attached, bearing an insignia of Greater Albania. Serbian defender Stefan Mitrovic grabbed the flag as it was lowered down and shortly after a huge brawl on the pitch broke out between players, fans and team officials, forcing the game to be abandoned. The Guardian posted a video of the shocking events.

4. James Tavernier and Hibernian fan get into scuffle

On Friday night, a fan was arrested following an incident in a 1-1 draw between Rangers and Hibernian. Just before half time, Tavernier went to collect the ball for a throw-in and a Hibernian supporter jumped over the advertising boards and kicked it away before pushes were exchanged between the pair. Rival captain, Celtic’s Scott Brown called the incident a “disgrace”, and titled the man involved a hooligan and not a fan.

5. German Cup match suspended after referee hit on the head by a lighter

In a cup match between third tier club Osnabrueck and RB Leipzig, referee Martin Petersen was hit on the head by a lighter, thrown by a Osnabrueck fan. The game was stopped abruptly and the referee was taken to the hospital as a precaution for concussion.

It is shocking that things like this still occur in the world’s most popular sport, as a select few spoil occasions far to frequently through their inexcusable stupidity.

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