A football match in the Colombian first division was suspended on Sunday after a fan ran onto the pitch and attacked a player, who then chased the offending supporter and knocked him to the ground.
Just after the referee had blown his whistle to begin the game between Deportes Tolima and Millonarios, a fan broke onto the pitch and struck Millonarios player Daniel Cataño, who used to play for Tolima, from behind.
Cataño then ran after the fan in retaliation and knocked him to the ground, resulting in the referee showing Cataño a red card.
Video footage showed the fan being escorted away by police, but Millonarios decided it would not continue the match – which was being played at Tolima’s stadium – as it believed the players’ safety could not be guaranteed.
“Given this situation and considering the inherent risks of the show and the difficulty of guaranteeing the safety of the players, it was decided that it was not prudent to compromise their integrity,” the club said in a statement.
“These arguments were shared with the Police Commander, the officiating team and DIMAYOR [the governing body responsible for the top two division in Colombian football] delegates. Millionarios is emphatic in pointing out that the priority is the safety of the players and members of the coaching staff, as well as that of all those who attend the sports scene.
“Acts of violence must be firmly rejected. We appreciate the understanding and solidarity of our fans.”
In a statement released on Monday, DIMAYOR said it “rejects any act of violence that takes place inside or in the immediate vicinity of the pitch.
“Therefore, it ratifies its position of repudiating the acts of intolerance that occurred yesterday at the Manuel Murillo Toro stadium, which led the refereeing team to definitively suspend the start of the match.
“Such facts have already been brought to the attention of the Disciplinary Committee of the Championship, the only disciplinary body with legitimacy to hear and resolve the conduct described in the reports and establish whether or not they constitute disciplinary offenses,” DIMAYOR added.
Following the incident, Tolima said in a statement: “We appreciate the understanding and patience you have shown at the stadium. We ask to stay tuned to our channels to receive official information.”
The club has not released a statement since and CNN has reached out to Tolima for comment and asked whether it plans to punish the fan.
The local government secretary, Milton Restrepo, told local media that the fan will face sanctions but did not elaborate on what they would be.