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Soccer brawl

Monday, 21st September, 2009

Arrests will be made and a ban on alcohol could ensue following an alcohol fuelled brawl at yesterday's local soccer grand final. Police last night said that investigations would continue with a view to arrests after a fight broke out between opposing team supporters, spilling onto the pitch and stopping the men's A grade game. Broken Hill Police shift supervisor sergeant Paul Hayes said the incident was being considered as high end common assault and could include charges under the public order offenses, including affray. "Investigations are continuing with the possibility of arrests in the future," Sergeant Hayes said. "Most of our problems are alcohol and drug related and this is an example of what happens when people drink to excess. "It's very disappointing and doesn't set a good example." Around 20 spectators were invovled in the melee which began after the West Panthers kicked a goal in the seventh minute of extra time to give them the lead in what had been an evenly contested match. While initially the fight was between two or three people, it soon gathered numbers as people joined in or tried to stop the fight. Security hustled with the brawlers but were overwhelmed by the numbers fighting. Police were called but no arrests were made at the scene. President of the Broken Hill Soccer Association Peter Nash said the brawl marred what was a "great day". "There was an altercation between a couple of spectators, one who tried to give a big of cheek to the opposition team," Mr Nash said. "The game was stopped for 10 minutes as (the fight) spilled onto the pitch which is definitely not what the Association wants. "It was very disappointing and marred a great day at the soccer." Mr Nash said the Association would be discussing a course of action to deal with the offenders, including banning them from future matches. "We are bitterly disappointed by the actions of a few and certainly the Association will want to investigate it," he said. "The Association will now consider banning alcohol and we will be discussing that. "From the Association's point of view it was a blight on what was a fantastic day." Mr Nash said no players were involved. "The players played 120 minutes of fantastic soccer. The players were fantastic," he said. "It's very disappointing and not the sort of image we want to produce." Mr Nash said a lots of families attended the final as well as people who come just once per year to watch the grand final and it was not a good look for the game. "This will undo six months of hard work or promoting soccer as a good game." The final 23 minutes of the game were played without incident. Sgt Hayes said given the fight took place in public it will be viewed more seriously. "It was assault in public view and it sets an example and is offensive to everybody," he said. "It brings attention and is looked at more seriously. "(It could mean an) affray offence for everyone involved." Meanwhile Sgt Hayes is urging anyone who took photographs or filmed the brawl to contact police. "Police are calling for those with images on their cameras or phones to bring them forward."

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