S.League match called off before kick-off

By Abraham Rajadurai

SINGAPORE - It has not even been nine months since the last brawl in S.League was featured all over the world and another one has erupted.

Last night, Houngang United and Etoile FC squared up even before the whistle was blown for kick-off.

The match was abandoned by match commissioner A Raamasamy after consulting with the clubs' officials and the match referee, according to media reports.

According to FAS deputy director (marketing and competitions) Ridzal Saat, an investigation will be held and the guilty parties will be dealt with severely.

He also pointed out that this was the first time that a match has been called off during the warm-ups.

He added:" We do not condone any sort of violence, more so anything that is pre-match."

The New Paper reported that sources from both the clubs have given varying accounts on what actually started the fracas.

The source from Hougang said: "Etoile's reserve goalkeeper came into Hougang's half and headbutted Hasrin (Jailani, Hougang assistant coach).

"Then, all of a sudden, both sets of players squared up and sparked a free-for-all.

"It was worse than the Young Lions-Beijing footbrawl."

However, Etoile FC's source claimed that Hadama Bathily (Etoile's reserve goalkeeper) had simply gone into Hougang FC's half to retrieve the ball that had been kicked over.

In return he received verbal abuse from Hasrin Jaliani who also kicked him.

The source added: "Hougang's No. 5 (Shariff Abdul Samat) also joined in the attack. Both teams then came together and the scuffle escalated."

Fans who were interviewed by the New Paper also claimed that the fight had threatened to spill over.

A Hougang fan claimed that the players from the French team chased after the Hougang players. They kicked over advertisement boards and Shariff Samat was spotted holding up a chair.

Hougang's new Member of Parliament Yaw Shin Leong was in the stands, and had a word with the Hougang United players prior to the altercation.

It is believed that two from the Hougang United, midfielder Basit Abdul Hamid and Hasrin, and two Etoile players, defender Franklin Anzite and Bathily, were taken to hospital.

Some speculate that the fight was sparked off due to the bad blood that exists between the two sides from their last meeting that saw the two sides square up after the game.

The police also confirmed receiving a call at about 7.15pm about the incident.

The players that took part in the last September's brawl faced fines and suspensions and the two clubs, Courts Young Lions and Beijing Gouan Talent had five points docked on top of a $5,000 fine.