REFILE-Police hold Betis fan accused of throwing bottle

Updated: March 17, 2008, 8:53 AM ET
Reuters

(fixes typo in headline)

By Mark Elkington

MADRID, March 17 - A Real Betis fan accused of throwing a bottle at Athletic Bilbao's goalkeeper during a home Primera Liga match is being held in custody, police in Seville said on Monday.

A 40-year-old man identified with the initials CPR, a builder from near Seville, has been charged with a public disorder offence and causing injury. Bail has been set at 3,000 euros.

On Saturday, a Betis fan was standing in the front row just behind the goal at the Manuel Ruiz de Lopera stadium, when he threw a small plastic water bottle full of liquid at Armando, as he went to get a ball for a goal kick.

The visiting keeper was struck just below the right eye and required a number of stitches for a cut. Fans nearby quickly identified the aggressor, who was taken away by stadium security and handed over to the police.

After Armando was carried off on a stretcher, referee Carlos Clos Gomez abandoned the match in the 69th minute, with Bilbao winning 2-1.

Armando has bruising to the eye and will be undergoing further tests on Monday.

The Spanish football federation (RFEF)'s disciplinary committee meet on Tuesday to discuss the weekend's incidents.

Bilbao have called for strong sanctions and for the game to be awarded to them, quoting the actions UEFA took last year when a fan ran on the pitch to confront the referee causing the abandonment of a Euro 2008 qualifier between Denmark and Sweden that was tied at 3-3.

UEFA awarded Sweden a 3-0 victory, fined Denmark 50,000 Swiss francs ($41,490) and ordered them to play their next two home qualifiers at least 140 km (87 miles) away from the capital.

Betis have asked for the remaining minutes to be played, saying it is wrong to punish the majority of fans, who quickly helped to apprehend the person who threw the bottle, because of the actions of an individual who is not a season-ticket holder.

Both teams are involved in the battle to avoid relegation.

The RFEF will be aware it is not the first time such an incident has occurred at the Manuel Ruiz de Lopera.

Last season, Sevilla coach Juande Ramos, now at Tottenham Hotspur, was knocked out after being hit by a bottle thrown from the stands during a King's Cup quarter-final match there.

That game was abandoned and the remaining 33 minutes played behind closed doors at Getafe's stadium while Betis were given a three-match stadium ban.

In December, Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas was hit by an object thrown from the crowd during a league match at Bilbao's San Mames stadium. Bilbao were fined 600 euros ($799).

(Reporting by Mark Elkington; editing by Trevor Huggins)

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