Betis soccer club hit with stadium ban for bottle incident
After the attack by a fan on a player last weekend, Athletic Bilbao has been awarded a 2-1 win, and Betis penalised with a two-game stadium ban by Spanish Soccer Federation's Competition Committee on Tuesday.19 March 2008
MADRID - After the attack by a fan on a player last weekend, Athletic Bilbao has been awarded a 2-1 win, and Betis penalised with a two-game stadium ban by Spanish Soccer Federation's Competition Committee on Tuesday.
The Saturday night game in the Spanish Liga was stopped by the referee in minute 70 with Athletic leading 2-1 after a 40-year-old Betis fan tossed a full plastic water bottle onto the field, striking Athletic's goalkeeper Armando full in the face. The keeper was discharged from the hospital yesterday and will remain under observation for a "risk of complications," including the possibility of a detached retina.
The president of the disciplinary committee Alfredo Flórez recognised the "exceptional" nature of the decision not to play out the remaining 20 minutes at a closed stadium, explaining that "the rapid identification of the assailant has been an extenuating circumstance in penalising the Sevillian club."
Prior to the ruling, Betis players and President Pepe León had condemned the act as "unjustifiable," while arguing for the need to play out the match.
The early termination ruling is exceptionally damaging for Betis, which, at 32 points, is only goal difference away from relegation. Athletic, before the match, had 33 points.
[Copyright El Pais / KELLY RAMUNDO 2008]