Violence broke out at the Addis Ababa stadium during the city cup final between Saint George and Coffee.
As the season’s Ethiopian Premier League matches are in progress this time the ugly spectacle of the fan violence is on the rise.
On Sunday Wolwalo University beat Coffee by a slender 1-0 margin to take the early league leadership on 9 points. The losers Coffee went two ladders down to take the third place on 7 points.
The host Adama City collected the full three points with a 1-0 win over the visiting side Hawassa City to take the second place on 8 points. The two times champions Hawassa City are way down in the table.
Arbaminch City also beat the visitors Mekelakeya two to nothing.
Wolayita Dicha dropped two points as a result of 1-1 tie with the visiting side Dire Dawa City while The Woldiya City and Mekele City match which was intended to be played in Woldiya was interrupted due to fan violence flared up hours before the start of the game.
This was little expected prior to the violent confrontation among the fans of two sides. It was reported that the violence began four hours before the start of the game.
Mekele City joined the elite league this season. So that in less than two months in action there is no reason for the fans of the two teams to go to this kind of fist fighting that eventually led to cancellation of the game.
The game’s organizing body, the Ethiopian Football Federation, EFF, said that it is waiting for the offial repot by the referee and match official before it imposes heavy penalty.
The report of the clash is indeed surprising. The game is at its earlier stage. What will happen if the matches reach critical stage? As it is known the re will be time for teams to be put in a do or die situation. This time the EPL is in its fifth week, 25 games to go before the closure of the season.
To many in Ethiopia the scene during the derby match between Saint George and Coffee has always been tense. This is understandable because of the rivalry between the two teams is a public knowledge.
The puzzle, as Woldiya and Mekele Cities scheduled to clash for the first time, was why this happened at this early stage.
It is difficult to put the burden of responsibility on this or that side. Both are fresh for the elite league. Woldiya joined the league a year earlier while Mekele City stayed in the league only for a brief two months. One cannot say that their fans are organized and came for the fight in so short a time.
Eyewitness from Woldiya City said that the Woldiya City fans had brutal skirmishes with rival fans. No details were given.
Trouble seems to follow as other teams’ supporters are inspired to do the same in their home venues.
The EFF strongly warned that all sides taking part in the competition not to involve in any kind of violence in or outside of the stadium in a gathering of all stakeholders just days before the start of the seasons competition.
The EFF by then said the punishment for violence will include suspension and point reduction besides financial punishment.
This was not the first time this season violence to break out during the league matches. Jima Abajifar’s arena is banned for two matches as a result of fan disturbance during their first day match against Hawassa City. The EFF looks determined to impose harsh penalty to control the looming football hooliganism in its bud but the danger of its rising trend is visible.