Police investigating NFL brawl between Safsa and Yishun Sentek Mariners
Singapore football has endured a dreary year, with poor results across the board giving fans here little to shout about.
On Sunday, the sport was under the spotlight again for the wrong reasons.
A brawl between National Football League (NFL) Division 1 sides Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association (Safsa) and Yishun Sentek Mariners in a top-of-the-table clash at the Jalan Besar Stadium resulted in police officers being called.
The police said in a statement yesterday that they received a call for assistance at 9.24pm on Sunday, and that investigations are ongoing. The New Paper understands that at press time, no arrests have been made.
Sources revealed that police kept both teams at the stadium past midnight and took statements from the parties involved.
The incident that sparked the brawl involved Sentek Mariners' Zulfadhli Suzliman and Safsa's Nazirul Islam, who sported stud marks on his abdomen and was taken to hospital for treatment.
Zulfadhli was sent off along with Nazirul after the match resumed following a stoppage of some 15 minutes. Videos revealed that players from Sentek Mariners' bench also joined the melee that saw Safsa coach Kevin Wee kicked, and a Sentek Mariners official also getting involved near the players' tunnel.
Sources revealed that the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) is poised to fast-track disciplinary hearings. The FAS did not comment further on the issue yesterday.
NFL Division 1 leaders Safsa have 53 points from 20 games after the 3-2 win, while Sentek Mariners are on 51 points with one game in hand and three matches to close the gap in the 12-team competition.
The FAS Council met last night at its Jalan Besar headquarters, but members that TNP spoke to revealed that the brawl was not tabled for discussion.
Sentek Mariners official Yakob Hashim had revealed that Zulfadhli retaliated to taunts from Nazirul, but Safsa officials and players declined to comment when contacted yesterday.
This was the second major incident involving NFL teams in just over a year.
On Oct 1 last year, a Singapore FA Cup first-round match between Safsa and Balestier United Recreation Club was abandoned after a fight broke out with Safsa leading 2-1.
In 2010, a mass brawl between S.League sides Beijing Guoan Talent and Young Lions resulted in both clubs being docked five points and fined $5,000 each.
Sixteen players received bans ranging from four months to a year, and fines of $1,000 and $3,000. - ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DAVID LEE