The Spanish FA's Competition Committee have imposed a two match stadium ban on Real Betis as punishment for the bottle-throwing incident which caused their home game against Athletic Bilbao to be abandoned last Saturday.
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Athletic goalkeeper Armando Ribeiro was struck in the face by a bottle which was thrown from the stands at Betis' Manuel Ruiz de Lopera stadium. Consequently the visiting side have also been awarded a 2-1 win, which was how the score line stood when the match was called off with 18 minutes remaining.
The Athletic goalkeeper, who was bleeding from a cut just below his right eye, was stretchered off the pitch and referee Carlos Clos Gomez subsequently led both teams from the field. A man was taken into custody by the police, after being identified by nearby Betis fans, and was released on bail on Monday.
The president of the RFEF's Competition Committee, Alfredo Florez, announced the verdict and defended the decision to award the victory to Athletic Bilbao. He stated "(When play was halted) there were only a few minutes left and Athletic had already made their three substitutions and had had to continue with 10 players and without their goalkeeper."That goes against the fairness of the competition."
The President added that "The quick identification of the aggressor has been an extenuating factor in the sanctions imposed against the Seville club. Those around the aggressor reacted immediately in identifying him, stopping him and handing him over to the police."
The Andalucian club believe that the punishment is unfair and have responded quickly to the verdict. At a press conference yesterday Real Betis president Pepe Leon singled out Spanish FA president Angel Maria Villar and said "We have been forced to call this press conference because of this serious and wrong despotic act against Betis and their fans by Villar. I haven't seen such a persecution against Betis since the days of Franco. We want to say that this is a savage act."
With Betis teetering on the brink of the drop zone, the award of all three points to relegation rivals Athletic, plus the impact of the stadium ban, could have serious consequences for Betis' Primera Liga future.
"We want the swift recuperation of Armando who is the main victim of all this, but he is not the only one. They are going against us. Villar wants to send us to the second division" added the Betis President.
Take Part In Our Poll
We want to know what you think. Is this a fair punishment? After all it has happened before at Betis' home ground. Saturday's episode was the second time in little over a year that such an incident has taken place at the Manuel Ruiz de Lopera. Last February, Sevilla coach Juande Ramos was knocked unconscious by a bottle thrown from the stands during a Copa del Rey quarter-final second-leg match against Betis, resulting in that game being abandoned as well.
Or do you agree with the Betis President? Are they victims as well? Things get thrown at Spanish football matches all the time and other clubs don't suffer the same fate. Should Betis be punished because their boy is a better shot? Or as one email to La Liga Review suggested - what stops a fan buying a ticket to a rival's match and throwing something at a player, secure in the knowledge that the club will effectively lose points?
Or is this the kind of thing that is keeping Spanish football in the dark ages and the scenes (see video below) are something that must be eradicated from the game at all costs.