Violence mars Spanish football

Violence looks to be on the increase in Spain.

    A section of Atletico Madrid fans cheer during a
    match against Sevilla [GALLO/GETTY] 
    Film of an Atletico Madrid fan being kicked and beaten with a stick by Sevilla supporters before last Saturday's league match has heightened concern about the level of violence in Spanish football.

    The images, taken on a mobile phone and published on the internet before being aired on television, show the fan being attacked as he lay bleeding on the ground outside Sevilla's Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.

    Spanish media reported that a Sevilla fan was also attacked and stabbed in the leg before the match, which Atletico won 2-1, though local police said they had no knowledge of the incident.

    "They are deplorable incidents that have no place in football and should not be allowed to be repeated," Atletico defender Pablo Ibanez said on Tuesday.

    Violence at Spanish football has increased in recent seasons with clashes between rival fans and the police and the throwing of objects onto the pitch becoming regular occurrences.

    Earlier this month, Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Armando had to have six stitches for a cut on his face after being hit by a bottle thrown from the stands by a Real Betis fan.

    Betis were fined $14,020 and ordered to close their stadium for two matches, although they have made it clear they intend to appeal against the decision.

    Spanish FA facing eviction

    The Spanish football federation must leave its headquarters after losing a court appeal.

    The federation has until April 23 to vacate after the Superior Court of Justice in Madrid upheld the initial ruling that it built on the land illegally.

    The court said the town council of Las Rozas, in the north of Madrid, was wrong in 1998 to donate the land for the federation to build their headquarters and training ground. Construction on the 120,000 square metre site cost $68 million.

    Spokesman Jorge Careterro said the federation had no intention of leaving.

    "This is a matter for the municipality,'' Careterro said Tuesday. "With everything going on in Spanish football right now, we won't be moving soon.''

    Spain plays World Cup winner Italy on Wednesday in a friendly match ahead of the European championship, which begins June 7 in Austria and Switzerland.

    The federation is now obliged to return the land to the local authority or face a minor fine of $466 fine for every 60 days it remains.

    The training ground is regularly used by the national team before international games, and was also temporarily used by Real Madrid.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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