Over 1,000 supporters rushed into a football field during a match in Colombia, attacking the players.
Wednesday’s football game between Deportivo Cali and Cortulua was called off in the 81st minute of play when many supporters rushed to the field at the Estadio Doce de Octubre. The crowd, most of whom were reportedly Deportivo Cali supporters, started attacking the players and staff verbally and physically.
While some football players could exit the field without mishap, others could not do so in time. Teofilo Gutierrez, a striker for Deportivo Cali, reportedly was ‘kicked and punched’ by his fans, according to The Sun.
A video showed manager Mayer Candelo being led away by security as he was reported to have been hurt during the attacks. Around 1400 people suddenly burst onto the pitch, surprising most of the players, as police tried to control the situation.
To stop a repetition of the incident, Deportivo Cali has since issued a formal statement asking the local authorities to take action. Additionally, they stated that the club did not support any violent behavior toward its players, particularly from its fans.
The statement read: “The Cali Sports Association, Executive Committee, President Luis Fernando Mena, Professional Staff, Officials, and employees emphatically reject the aggression, harassment, and violence suffered by our team during the match against Cortulua.
“It clearly condemns any violent act against our players and coaching staff. We respectfully ask the government and sports authorities to intervene to avoid a tragedy in the future that mourns our sport.”
Former Deportivo Cali football player Nicholas Benedetti of Colombia, who now represents Mazatlan of Mexico, also condemned the attacks. Violence is never the way and will never be justified, Benedetti wrote in a tweet that was shared by the Colombian side.
“No one goes out wanting to lose a game or hurt the institution. There are many ways to express yourself and make people feel when things are not going well, but never disrespect people or their physical integrity.”
Wilder Guisao scored the game’s first goal for the home team 20 minutes into the contest, and Feiver Mercado increased their lead with a penalty kick. There were little under ten minutes left when the game was announced.