23 September 2014

Incident Brings back memories of Malta-Croatia match: Seven Hajduk fans arrested

 - Friday, 01 August 2008, 00:00

by Henry Brincat

There was an incident which brought back memories of the incidents when Croatian supporters had caused a lot of damage to the Ta' Qali Stadium after a drawn match between Malta and Croatia.

It was the 58th minute of the match when some of the about 150 Croatian club's supporters set fire to some seats at the 'Valletta' side of the Enclosure. The police seemed to have quickly taken control of the situation. At least, that was how it seemed, but after a few minutes trouble erupted again with Police Assistant Commissioner Josie Brincat being fiercely attacked and even thrown to the ground after trying to clam down the situation. Special Assignment Group members had to defend themselves by using their batons after also being attacked by some of the fans when trying to defend Brincat. At least two of the beaten fans were apprehended and led out of the stand handcuffed. Police reports later confirmed that seven Hajduk fans were arrested.

Before the end of the match, a club official addressed the fans on the stadium's PA system telling them to stay in their area at the end of the match and to obey police orders on their way out. The fans were cornered at their own end for about 30 minutes before they were escorted out of the Stadium and driven to the airtport by police transport and kept under strict surveillance.

The Hajduk club is obviously fearing disciplinary action by UEFA which might also impose a heavy fine among other measures.

After the incidents in the Malta-Croatia match two years ago, UEFA had imposed a heavy fine and also ordered the Croatian FA to pay all the damages, which amounted to around e23,000 .

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