Football match abandoned after brawl

TWO rival Essex football teams could face disciplinary action after officials were forced to call off their match following a brawl.Phil Sammons, Essex County Football Association chief executive, said initial disciplinary procedures would now be carried out following the decision to abandon Monday night's Essex Senior Cup Semi Final tie between Chelmsford City and Braintree Town.

TWO rival Essex football teams could face disciplinary action after officials were forced to call off their match following a brawl.

Phil Sammons, Essex County Football Association chief executive, said initial disciplinary procedures would now be carried out following the decision to abandon Monday night's Essex Senior Cup Semi Final tie between Chelmsford City and Braintree Town.

He said: “The Essex County FA would like to make it clear that the following process will apply before any decisions are made: The referee will report the incident to The Football Association. The FA will, if deemed appropriate, charge the clubs and players concerned.

“Pending these findings, the Essex County FA's cups and competitions committee will make a decision with regards to the future progress of the 2005/06 Senior Cup competition.”


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Either club could be fined or players banned if they are proved to be at fault.

The match was called off in the 63rd minute after a fight broke out between players. Braintree were leading by two goals to nil. The shocked 1,248-strong crowd watched as the scuffle in the Chelmsford City dugout spread to an all-out brawl.

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A concerned spectator called Essex Police fearing the disorder might spread to the terraces and officers arrived at City's Melbourne Stadium and helped the disappointed fans exit smoothly.

City chairman Paul Hopkins said: “We have not yet seen the referee's report or had a conversation with the FA so it would be remiss of me to comment on the incident at the moment.

“But our supporters behaved impeccably and they all left the ground in an orderly fashion which was fantastic and I would like to thank them for that.

“However, it was just handbags at five paces on the pitch and we are waiting to see what the referee saw.”

Braintree chairman Lee Harding was disappointed with the outcome. He said: “The game is a contact sport and, of course, passions run high. While not condoning the pushing and shoving, the scuffles between the players were no worse than I have seen countless times over the years. I do not believe what we saw last night justified abandoning the match.

“Braintree Town have an excellent relationship with our friends at Chelmsford and I believe both clubs are bemused by the abandonment. We now look to the Essex FA to resolve the situation promptly.”

Chelmsford City had fought a long battle to return to their home town after years of exile and had just moved into the Melbourne Stadium last month.

Essex Police yesterday said there had been no formal complaint by players or staff alleging assault.

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