• Italy

Italian side force referee to abandon game

ESPN staff
November 10, 2013

An Italian football match was abandoned just twenty minutes in after one side deliberately reduced themselves to six men.

The local derby between Lega Pro sides Salernitana and Nocerina had already started 40 minutes late because the Nocerina players refused to get off their team bus after arriving at the stadium, having reportedly been threatened by their own fans.

Nocerina agreed to play after negotiations with Lega Pro representatives at the stadium, but then made three substitutions after two minutes. Over the next 17 minutes a further five players limped off 'injured'.

Nocerina also saw a player sent off along with one of Salernitana following a scuffle. That left Nocerina with just six players on the pitch, forcing the referee to abandon the game.

It is reported that Nocerina fans threatened their players because they wanted to stop the game going ahead, having been banned from attending.

"This is a terrible page in the history of football," said Salernitana coach Carlo Perrone.

"We need to ask ourselves how this could've happened. I am a man of sport and right now feel terribly disappointed."

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