Football: Pitch invaders handed over to police, says Sports Hub

A young pitch invader running onto the field at the National Stadium after the friendly match between Brazil and Senegal last Thursday. Another pitch invader was seen approaching Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus at the same match. They were both apprehen
A young pitch invader running onto the field at the National Stadium after the friendly match between Brazil and Senegal last Thursday. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
A young pitch invader running onto the field at the National Stadium after the friendly match between Brazil and Senegal last Thursday. Another pitch invader was seen approaching Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus at the same match. They were both apprehen
Another pitch invader was seen approaching Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus at the same match. They were both apprehended by security and led away. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Pitch invaders in football matches held at the National Stadium over the past week have been handed over to the police, says the Singapore Sports Hub.

Last Thursday's friendly between Brazil and Senegal saw two young boys run onto the pitch at Kallang to take wefies with Neymar and other players before the start of the second half. It is understood that after the game, there was a similar pitch incursion by young fans. All were eventually apprehended by security and led away.

And during Tuesday's World Cup qualifier between Singapore and Uzbekistan, a spectator entered the area between the pitch and the stands and confronted fans from the visiting team. He too was escorted away by security.

In a statement yesterday, the Sports Hub warned that "pitch invasions or other breaches of security will be dealt with severely and trespassers will be handed over to the police".

It added that it would "continue to enhance security measures" but did not specify what these would entail. Noting that those who breach security measures "create unpleasant experiences for all", the statement explained: "The stadium is set up to bring fans as close to the action (their heroes) as possible. Pitch invasions do happen across the globe as passions run high and fans look to get closer to their heroes.

"Regardless, the safety of players and fans are our No. 1 priority and security checks are in place for anyone entering the stadium."

The Straits Times has contacted the Singapore Police Force for clarification on the matter.

This is not the first time this year that pitch invasions have occurred at a football match at the National Stadium. During the International Champions Cup match between Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur in July, a young boy wearing a Juventus jersey darted across the pitch and headed for the bench.

Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri surprisingly allowed the boy to sit on the bench and take a wefie with his idol, five-time World Player of the Year Ronaldo, before the fan was escorted out by security.

Brushing aside the incident, the Italian manager later said: "For me, when such a young fan goes onto the pitch, it's not an invasion but a joyful occasion."

The young fan was identified by British tabloid The Sun as 14-year-old Akhmadi Yerzhanov from Kazakhstan, who together with his father, was detained by Singapore police after the incident.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2019, with the headline 'Pitch invaders handed over to police, says Sports Hub'. Print Edition | Subscribe