Athletic Bilbao have demanded action to be taken after their goalkeeper Armando was struck by a bottle thrown by a spectator, causing their Primera Liga match at Real Betis to be abandoned.
The Basque side were winning Saturday’s game 2-1, when a fan threw a small plastic bottle full of liquid which hit Armando as he went to retrieve a ball for a goal kick.
The keeper was carried off on a stretcher and had stitches for a cut just below his right eye, while referee Carlos Clos Gomez abandoned the match with around 18 minutes left to play.
“Referees, assistants, coaches and now a player. How long can we go on allowing this kind of thing to happen?” Bilbao said in a statement on their website.
“It isn’t right that we should leave it up to fortune as to whether or not our goalkeeper is left blinded. We cannot put the contestants at risk debating whether there should be a two or 120-match stadium ban. What hurts are the points.
“The Spanish league must not hold back. It is time to be European and to take drastic action.’
After the match at Betis’s Manuel Ruiz de Lopera stadium, Bilbao coach Joaquin Caparros was furious.
“It’s an atrocity,” he complained. “We have to stop these kinds of things happening, and there is a precedent from the Denmark game.”
Caparros referred to the Euro 2008 qualifier between Denmark and Sweden in Copenhagen last June which was suspended in the 89th minute, with the scores level at 3-3, when a fan ran on the pitch to confront the referee.
UEFA later awarded Sweden a 3-0 victory, fined Denmark 50,000 Swiss francs and ordered them to play their next two home qualifiers at least 140 km (87 miles) away from the capital.
Betis condemned the incident on their website saying the aggressor had been caught by stadium security and was not a season-ticket holder.
“Armando was a victim in all this but the great victim is Betis football club,” the head of Betis’s legal services Manuel Castano said in a statement.
“It is important to detail the actions of the fans in helping detain this individual. Because of this our fans should not be punished for an isolated incident and we have a right to play the final minutes of the game.”
It is not the first time such an incident has occurred at the Manuel Ruiz de Lopera.
Last season, Sevilla coach Juande Ramos, now in charge at Tottenham, was knocked out after being hit by a bottle thrown from the stands during a King’s Cup quarter-final match there.
That game was abandoned and the remaining 33 minutes played behind closed doors at Getafe’s stadium while Betis were given a three-match stadium ban.