The Malta Independent 21 July 2018, Saturday

Violence reported at Gzira World Cup village after England defeat

Albert Galea Thursday, 12 July 2018, 16:01 Last update: about 8 days ago

Instances of arguments and violence were reported at the World Cup Village in Gzira on Wednesday evening after England were defeated by Croatia in extra time, as witnesses expressed concerns about a lack of security at such venues, with the Malta Independent even receiving a report of a man being assaulted completely unprovoked.

Speaking to this newsroom, a member of the public present spoke of how when England conceded Ivan Perisic’s equalising goal in the second half of the match, things started to get a bit rough with English fans seen throwing cups and bottles at the Croatian supporters.

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The conclusion of the game and England’s subsequent elimination from the World Cup brought small brawls between the fans at the venue, which was packed for the duration of the match.  English fans were seen instigating arguments and trying to start fights with Croatians, with the Croatians choosing to walk away from the angry supporters instead of falling to their instigations, according to eyewitnesses.

One member of the public, who is Gozitan and was watching the game with some Maltese friends, was mistaken for a Croatian and ended up needing treatment in hospital after being punched by a man wearing an England shirt. After the assault, the attacker then fled the scene.

The attack left the victim semi-conscious in a pool of blood.  Staff of an establishment close by provided ice and tissues to help treat the victim, whilst the police was called.  The police however never showed up, with a patrol car at one point passing by the scene but failing to stop, eyewitnesses said. 

The victim was eventually taken to Mater Dei Hospital by one of his friends, where he was treated for cuts and bruises on the lower lip and on the inside of his mouth and underwent scans relating to potential head injuries.

Both the victim and a friend who spoke to The Malta Independent lamented that “it was crazy” and “very disappointing” that there was no security at such a venue, especially considering the potential of clashes occurring between the two sides, and that there were no medical professionals on the scene, as there should be for events of such a large scale.

 

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