Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Not An Isolated Incident

The Spanish FA has decided the bottle throwing episode during the Real Betis v. Athletic Bilbao was not a isolated incident and has imposed a two match stadium ban as well as awarding the three points to Athletic. Betis' president had been calling for leniency after the incident, hoping to play out the game's last 20 minutes at a future date. This was rejected for a number of reasons, one including the fact that the Basque club had already used all three of it's substitutes at the point when keeper Armando Ribeiro was struck down.

According to the head of the FA's competition committee, the punishment for Betis would have been more severe if not for the reaction of the home fans sitting in the section behind Armando's goal. They not only admonished the bottle thrower (center of picture, with hat on), but held on to him as he tried to make his way towards the exits. If not for this "intervention" by the Betis fans, the stadium ban would have been a minimum of four matches, if not more.

Awarding the full three points to Athletic proves rather costly to Betis. While both teams are in a fight to avoid the drop, the result of today's ruling leaves the Seville club even on points (but ahead on goal difference) with the relegation zone. The win propels Athletic to 10th place in la Liga, even on points with Valencia, four points above Betis.

Dos partidos de sanciĆ³n y tres puntos para el Athletic por el botellazo (in Spanish) [AS]


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