Dec 22, 2011, 10:08 AM EDT
Yep, just your typical European soccer match. Fan attacks goalie during play; goalie defends himself by giving fan a few swift kicks; goalie receives red card and is sent off; goalie’s coach removes team from field in protest; match is abandoned. Drive safely!
It happened Wednesday night in the Dutch Cup match between AZ Alkmaar and Ajax, when a fan raced onto the pitch at the 36-minute mark and headed straight toward AZ keeper Esteban Alvarado. Being from the mean streets of Costa Rica, Esteban was having none of that — intercepting the loose-limbed idiot with a flying kick to the chest, then adding a couple more stomps as the invader lay on the turf.
But the fun really begins as the fan is hauled away, and the ref awards Esteban for his quick thinking with a red card. Yep, it’s a rule — Law 12, page 119 in the FIFA rule book, to be exact — that if a player “uses brutality or excessive force” while not going for the ball, even against a fan, even if that fan is on the field, that player is sent off. I suppose FIFA wants their players to take a dive when such incidents occur. Or to run away like in a Benny Hill sketch.
The London Daily Mail:
As the intruder was dragged away by security staff, referee Bas Nijhuis gave 22-year-old Esteban his marching orders.
The official said: “I understand that Esteban was defending himself, but he walked to him (the supporter) and kicked him multiple times. He could also have walked away.”
Alkmaar coach Gert Jan Verbeek ordered his side off and attempts to convince them to return failed as club director Toon Gerbrands said: “The players didn’t feel safe anymore in this situation.”
Hmm, not a popular decision, apparently.
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