Entire football squad banned

AN ENTIRE under-18 football squad has been barred from playing further games after an incident towards the end of a bad-tempered match.Braintree Town's under-18 team were drawing level 2-2 away to Canvey Island's Concord Rangers when violence erupted two minutes from time.

AN ENTIRE under-18 football squad has been barred from playing further games after an incident towards the end of a bad-tempered match.

Braintree Town's under-18 team were drawing level 2-2 away to Canvey Island's Concord Rangers when violence erupted two minutes from time.

The match descended into chaos after players from both sides became involved in a punch-up with some players having to go to hospital with injuries.

A spokesman for the club, which tops the central section of the Eastern Junior Alliance Youth Football League, last nightconfirmed two of his players had given official statements to the police, who were called to the Thames Road ground in Canvey last Sunday.


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Both clubs have been suspended from the league, while their governing body, Essex County FA, investigates the incident.

A spokesman for Essex Police confirmed they were also investigating the violence, but added that no arrests had been made.

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He said: "It was a bad tempered match, which resulted in a number of people receiving injuries. Some of the players went to hospital for treatment."

James Drury, secretary for youth football at Braintree Town FC, said this was the first time he could remember the club being embroiled in this kind of incident.

He said: "We're looking into what happened, but we're all a bit upset about it really. We're not a violent team and there's no way we want to have our image tainted by this.

"The police are still involved and have spoken to everyone who was there and two players have made statements. Most of them were 17 although a couple maybe touching on 18.

"We just want to carry on playing football, but we'll have to wait," he added.

Phil Sammons, chief executive of Essex FA, said: "We're awaiting the referee's report. When we get it, we'll go through the normal disciplinary process and both clubs will be called before the committee.

"It's too early at this stage to say what kind of punishment there may be, but there could be suspensions and maybe financial penalties."

The Eastern Junior Alliance Youth Football League prides itself on taking youth teams from across the east of England, including U-16 and U-18 sides from Nationwide and Rymans Leagues.

According to the league's website, last Sunday's result 2-2 result has stood, leaving Braintree Town top and Concord Ranger third from bottom.

No one from Concord Rangers was available for comment.

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