Football: NFL game descends into mass brawl, police called in

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A National Football League (NFL) Division 1 game between the Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association (Safsa) and Yishun Sentek Mariners ended in a mass brawl last night at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

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

Prior to the game, Sentek Mariners were top of the 12-team NFL while Safsa were second.

Sentek Mariners coach Yakob Hashim told The Straits Times (ST): "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."

Safsa could not be reached for comment yesterday.

ST understands that play was stopped for about 15 minutes before the match resumed. Safsa won 3-2. ST also understands that the police have been called in, and was still at the stadium at 11pm last night.

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

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said in a statement: "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 had been involved in a brawl during a football match in recent times.

Last year on Oct 1, the Singapore FA Cup first-round match between Safsa and Balestier United Recreation Club at the Gombak Stadium 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 was banned from participating in the FA Cup for the next two years and fined $1,000.

Three of its players, Taufik Jiahuddin, Masnashzreen Masturi and Khyruddin Khalid, were banned from all FAS-sanctioned matches and tournaments until the end of this year. 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 till the end of this year.

•Additional reporting by Shamir Osman

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2017, with the headline Football: NFL game descends into mass brawl, police called in. Subscribe