Football: National Football League tie descends into mass brawl, again

ST VIDEO: LIM SAY HENG

SINGAPORE - A mass brawl broke out during a National Football League Division 1 tie between the Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association (Safsa) and Yishun Sentek Mariners on Sunday night (Nov 12) at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

The incident happened in time added on in the second half, when Sentek Mariners' defender Zulfadhli Suzliman was sent off with Safsa leading 3-2.

Sentek Mariners coach Yakob Hashim said: "Zulfadhli told me Nazirul (Islam) verbally abused his mother and he retaliated with a kick, which led to his red card although Nazirul was not booked.

"I was paying attention to the both of them when another scuffle involving the reserves broke out at another corner of the pitch."

The Straits Times understands that play was stopped for about 15 minutes before play resumed, and Safsa was leading 3-2. ST also understands that the police have been called in, and was still at the stadium at 11pm on Sunday night.

Yakob said: "It is regrettable that such an incident has happened. Investigations are ongoing and we will cooperate fully with the relevant authorities."

 

A statement released by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) at 12.09am on Monday (Nov 13) said that police arrived at the venue to take statements from both teams after the match was completed.

The statement read: "The FAS does not condone any ungentlemanly behaviour that taints the name of our sport, and brings it into disrepute.
 
"As the matter is under investigation, we are unable to make any further comments."

This was not the first time Safsa has been involved in a scuffle during a football match in recent times.

On Oct 1 last year, the Singapore FA Cup first-round match at the Gombak Stadium between Safsa and Balestier United Recreation Club was halted by the referee in the 88th minute when a fight broke out with Safsa leading 2-1. The match was later abandoned.

After two hearings, Balestier were banned from participating in the FA Cup for two years and fined $1,000.

Three of its players, Taufik Jiahuddin, Masnashzreen Masturi and Khyruddin Khalid, are banned from taking part in all Football Association of Singapore-sanctioned matches and tournaments until Dec 31, 2017. They were also fined $500 each.

Two other players, Kamarul Rusly and K. Sathiaraj, were banned from all matches until June 30 this year.

Syafiq Siraj, Safsa's captain last year, was given a conditional warning until the end of this year.

- Additional reporting by Shamir Osman