Guarding the Beautiful Game: FA to Stamp Out Violence in ABH League.
The ABH League is known for the intense heat that attends its matches. The ruthless tackles and collisions and the screaming whistles which follow, accompanied by cards, red or yellow. The pitch becomes a battlefield, with enraged players yelling at officials and the crowd fueling the chaos. This brutal atmosphere is summed up by the league’s slogan, “Blood and Sand.” However, the league recently hit a new low as an ordinary spectator intruded onto the pitch, causing a halt in the game.
On game day seven of this season, an intense match was unfolding between Stampede and Avalanche. Both teams were tied with one goal each, and with just one minute left on the clock, the atmosphere was electric. Stampede pushed forward relentlessly, seeking a golden goal, while Avalanche fought tooth and nail to defend their position.
In the midst of the game, a fight erupted between two players, resulting in both of them receiving red cards. As tensions escalated, a spectator and a player engaged in a heated exchange, with the spectator crossing a line by insulting the player’s father. In a fit of rage, the player punched the spectator’s leg, who was standing on the pavement behind the goalpost (close to F Block’s tank).
The altercation caused the spectator to enter the field, demanding that the player, not being a Brownites, be expelled not only from the game but also from the hall. This drew more people into the pitch, including the FA Chairman, a security man, a vendor, and some friends. Despite their pleas with this man, he didn’t budge an inch.
This lingered for about 20 minutes, after which the final whistle was blown. A long stretch of uproars ensued at the quadrangle which was at this time now filled with a vast throng expressing their displeasure and disappointment. The FA Chairman, Mark Obeya, in an interview later described the incident as painful and unprecedented. He ascribed it to the FA’s prior failure to address similar issues in a timely manner, nipping them in the bud.
Following the incident, the FA met with the defence team to discuss how to handle similar issues in the future. It was agreed that if the issue involves only those accountable to the FA like team owners, coaches and players, the FA will take responsibility for resolving it. However, if the issue involves non-participants in the league, brownites or non-brownites, the defence team will intervene.
The FA also held a meeting with representatives from all teams, condemning the player’s misconduct and addressing other related issues. The FA Chairman told our correspondent that being stricter with pre-existing measures like heavy fines, letters of apology, match and time-based suspensions, official warnings to offending players and teams etc. will prove helpful in keeping the general conduct of players and teams in check, preserving the integrity of the league. And hopefully, the pitch designed for a beautiful game would no longer explode into a scene for violence, even in its slightest form.