• Football

Friendly abandoned as protesters attack players

ESPN staff
July 23, 2014
Scuffles took place between protesters and © Twitter

A pre-season friendly match played by Israel's Maccabi Haifa against Lille in Austria was ended prematurely when a group of pro-Palestinian protesters invaded the pitch and scuffled with players.

The protesters brandished Palestinian flags and reportedly shouted anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic slogans at the players, and a couple of whom got involved in brief altercations. The local police said nobody had been injured.

Allon Sinai, a sports journalist for the Jerusalem Post, wrote: "Punches and profanities were exchanged between the handful of youngsters, who waved Palestinian and Turkish flags throughout the match, and the Haifa players, who were mainly stunned by the scenes.

"The security stewards on hand were slow to react, but ultimately the situation calmed down, with several of the protesters being escorted out of the stadium and the Haifa players leaving the pitch unscathed."

The match, which had five minutes left, was abandoned.

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