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Policeman punched at football match

Żebbuġ Rangers players arguing with referee Fyodor Zammit.

Żebbuġ Rangers players arguing with referee Fyodor Zammit.

A policeman was injured while on duty when he was punched in the head during a football match yesterday morning, the police said.

The match was the Third Division Championship decider between Żebbuġ Rangers and Gozo FC being played at the Centenary Stadium at Ta' Qali.

The match was abandoned at the 57th minute when Gozo were leading Żebbuġ, 3-1.

The policeman had warned a spectator to watch his language when he spoke in a derogatory manner to the referee, the police aid.

The man, the police added, refused to give his details to the policeman while another person tried to hinder the officer from doing his job.

It was at this point that the policeman was punched in the head.

An ambulance took the policeman to Mater Dei Hospital where he was found to be suffering from slight injuries.

Several people have been detained to help in the investigations.

A sports writer who was following the match said that the referee had red-carded a Żebbuġ player, the second player from the Żebbuġ squad and this was followed by the throwing of missiles, one of which hit one of the assistant referees (linesmen).

John Hamilton, secretary of Żebbuġ club, yesterday contacted The Times to say that the club committee condemns any violence that was committed during the match.

The committee does not know the details of the incident and why the match was abandoned - this had nothing to do with the players - Mr Hamilton said, adding that the committee will await the referee's and the fourth official's report to see what actually happened.

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