Copa Libertadores: 6 Times Fans Have Disrupted Football Matches

The delaying of the second leg between River Plate and Boca Juniors in the Copa Libertadores final has been the source of much recent controversy, following issues in the first leg involving fan disruption.


The first leg ended 2-2 between the sides, but the second leg was delayed following an attack which affected a number of players, including former Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez. The events lead to the second leg being postponed twice, with the match subsequently being relocated to Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu - a decision which River Plate have since objected to.


Fan trouble has subsequently marred what is the most infamous event on the Argentine football calendar. Here is a selection of six other occasions in which fans have disrupted football matches...

1. Croatia vs Czech Republic (18 June 2016)

In one of the more curious cases of fan disruption, Croatia fans hurled flares onto the pitch during a Euro 2016 clash with Czech Republic in which their side were leading 2-1 at the time. The trouble did not end with the flares, however, as the Croatia supporters also fought amongst themselves in the stands.


The incident was apparently a result of the Croatian natives having lost faith in their Football Federation, with the setting a very different one to two years on when Croatia reached the World Cup final last summer.


The Croatian Football Federation had been accused at the time of widespread corruption, with vice-president Zdravko Mamic charged with embezzling money from Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb when he was previously chief executive at the club.


A section of radical Croatian fans apparently had such hatred for the CFF that they were prepared to take such extreme action in protest against them, and were even intent on sabotaging their team in the process, due to the shame brought upon their nation.

2. West Ham vs Tottenham (16 August 2014)

Closer to home, the Premier League opener in the 2014/15 season between West Ham and Tottenham was disrupted when a pitch invader ran onto the pitch and intervened in taking a free kick which Christian Eriksen was poised to take.


Though Spurs eventually won the game 1-0 despite the incident, the controversy did not end with the fan's intervention, as Kyle Naughton and James Collins were both sent off to leave each side with ten men.


It was the fan who provided the most surreal moment of the match, however, as he broke past the stewards and ran on to blaze Eriksen's set piece wayward. Eriksen's reaction was one of displeasure, but the fan was tackled to the ground immediately after by the stewards.

3. Young Boys vs Basel (24 September 2018)

One of the more bizarre and more recent occurrences of fan disruption was in Switzerland, in a match between Young Boys and Basel - a game in which defending Swiss champions Young Boys won 7-1.


Fans threw a combination of PS4 controllers and tennis balls onto the pitch during play, resulting in the match being paused for two minutes whilst the items were cleared from the field.


The incident occurred just 15 minutes into the game, with supporters of both sides in the crowd holding up large banners which featured the pause button symbol, with the caption "Scheiss esports," which, as translated by Pedestrian.tv, appears to mean "esports are s***". What's more, the controllers were said to have been covered with such profanities.

4. AEK Athens vs Ajax (27 November 2018)

In another recent but more serious case, the Champions League clash between AEK Athens and Ajax in November this year was marred by terrible scenes of violence in which fans were left injured and bloodied in the crowd.


The clash took place in Athens, with Ajax eventually winning 2-0 courtesy of a double from former Southampton playmaker Dusan Tadic. However, the occasion was greatly overshadowed by the shocking scenes of violence from fans during the match.


A suspected petrol bomb set off an explosion, which was apparently thrown into the away end by home supporters. Riot police were called upon to halt the Ajax fans from retaliating, though the altercation resulted in the away fans fighting with the police, with a number of fans pictured in bloodied states.

5. Sheffield United vs Aston Villa (1 September 2018)

Another recent incident in England occurred at Bramall Lane, in a Championship encounter in which Aston Villa were thrashed 4-1 by Sheffield United.


Steve Bruce's side were under great pressure heading into the match, and matters were made far worse as Villa found themselves 3-0 down in the first half. The dismal showing from the Championship side resulted in Villa fans fighting among themselves in the away end.


One supporter was knocked to the ground by a punch in amongst the incident, though numerous away supporters were pictured engaging in the violence. The heavy defeat left Villa 12th in the Championship as their struggle continued as Steve Bruce's reign came towards the end.

6. Brighton vs West Ham (6 October 2018)

Another recent, though more humorous incident stopped the Premier League match between Brighton and West Ham in October this year.


Brighton won the match at the Amex Stadium 1-0, courtesy of a Glenn Murray strike, though referee Kevin Friend may remember the match for a rather embarrassing incident. The match official was struck during the match with a crude sex object which had been thrown from the crowd.


Friend dealt with the incident admirably, simply removing the object from the pitch before continuing with proceedings, though the comical incident left the referee rather red faced in the process. West Ham were the losers on the day, but Friend was the real victim.