Spectators invade pitch, abuse referee at MDFA match
A First Division Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) play-off match between Sellebrity FC (Bandra) and Young Guns (Madanpura), at St Xavier's Ground (Parel) on Saturday, was marred by an ugly incident of spectators rushing onto the field and abusing the referees.
A group of six to seven spectators, already disgruntled by the referee’s performance, descended on the pitch while the game was stopped for 15 minutes in the second half so that the Bandra outfit’s goalkeeper Prakash Rao could receive medical treatment.
The ’keeper was left bleeding profusely from his forehead and finger after a clash with Young Guns’ Mamun Ansari and required three stitches on his forehead and also on his finger.
“It is disgusting that the spectators came onto the pitch and abused the referee. But the organisers (MDFA) are least bothered about our security. Referees do not feel secure as some teams’ supporters are rowdy and capable of doing anything,” said one of the officials at the receiving end of abuse.
Sellebrity promoter Geoffrey Menezes said, “This is not the first time that such an incident is happening on the ground. It has happened to us in earlier matches as well.
The organisers are not ready to learn from their mistakes. Today, the supporters have come and abused the referees, tomorrow they might come and hurt a player. But the MDFA don’t want to provide security for anybody.”
MDFA officials were unavailable for comment. While the referee blamed the ruckus on the Madanpura side’s supporters, Young Guns’ coach Arif Ansari said: “The supporters who entered the ground were not from our area.
Some people are just trying to malign the name of our 50-year-old club. Referees are to be blamed for whatever happened as they were unable to control the match.”
Sellebrity’s Rao, who continued to play despite the injury, also had harsh words for the referee. “The opposition player’s stud hit my forehead and my finger.
But as we didn’t have a substitute goalkeeper and Young Guns didn’t want to stop the match, we played on despite the fact that I was bleeding profusely.
I expected the referee to give the opposition player a red card. But he just walked away with just a yellow card,” lamented Rao. Meanwhile, the Madanpura side registered a 2-1 win with Shahdab Shaikh scoring a brace while Vishal Kapse scored the lone goal for Sellebrity.