‘Barbaric’ attack stuns football world
The football world has been shocked by the vision of a maniacal fan in South Africa driving onto the pitch and charging at opposition players and staff.
Vision of a spectator reportedly getting into his car and driving onto the pitch to attack a referee following a disagreement over a goal scored has led to swift outcry from across the country's sporting associations.
South African Police on Friday night confirmed it is investigating the incident with National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sithole declaring incidents like it need to be "eradicated" from sport.
The South African Football Players Union have also released a statement to reveal the action it is taking to make sure the scary scenes never happen again.
"We as #SAFPU are shocked to have witnessed such barbaric behaviour," union secretary general Nhlanhla Shabalala said in a statement posted to the organisation's Twitter account.
"There is no place for it in football. We will be meeting in earnest with @SAFA_net
‘We as #SAFPU are shocked to have witnessed such barbaric behavior. There is no place for it in football. We will be meeting in earnest with @SAFA_net to resolve.’ Sec. Gen Nhlanhla Shabalala on #ABCMotsepeLeague incident over the weekend. pic.twitter.com/vSXVs5GyNB— South African Football Players Union (@SAFPU_Official) February 24, 2020
The organisation has confirmed the incident took place last weekend during a match between the Luka Ball Controllers and Polokwane City Rovers in the ABC Motsepe League. The match was played out at a field in Brits, near Pretoria.
According to reports, the incident involved a disgruntled fan driving a BMW onto the pitch after a second goal was awarded to Polokwane City to put the team ahead 2-1.
The driver is alleged to have driven onto the pitch straight at the referee before turning around and arrowing straight at staff, spectators and players sitting around the Rovers' bench.
The man is alleged to have supported rival team Luka Ball Controllers, according to The Citizen.
The report includes a witness statement where the crazed spectator is accused of continuing further interruptions to the game.
The match was abandoned.
The Citizen reports the contest was unable to re-start after the car incident because the referee was unable to focus on the action out of fear that the fan would attempt to drive onto the pitch again.
"Each time the game was set to restart he threatened to go onto the field again. It spoiled the game because he kept trying to drive the car towards the City Rovers bench," a source at the venue reportedly told The Citizen.
"He [allegedly] wanted to hit the referee, that is who he was targeting, he turned his attention to the Rover bench in frustration because the referee made his way off the field as he feared he would be run over by the fan."
The SAFPU has continued to condemn the fan's actions throughout the week.
"We are appalled by it. Lives are at stake. Our conversation could be different hence we need to STOP this immediately," the organisation wrote on Twitter.
"The safety of not only players but everyone within a stadium/sports precinct is of utmost importance."