Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Serbo-Croat fans clash at Aus Open

Around 150 spectators had to be ejected from the ongoing Australian Open after Serbian and Croatian fans clashed at the venue.

Bitter fighting broke out in the Rod Laver arena after rival sets of fans heaped insults on each other and started kicking & punching each other!

The shame of it all was that they not only used fists & legs but flagpoles, bottles & chairs!

Such kind of unruly and hooliganistic behaviour has been unheard of in tennis.

Sure the French boo and reduce players to tears, or sometimes flares have been thrown and crowd support can get pretty vocal, but this has been fan behaviour at its worst.

Whatever the trigger was, this kind of behaviour cannot be condoned. They were rightly shown the door by police & security staff. The mostly Serbian crowd was ejected although the Croatian fans should have been docked as well, cause it takes two to brawl.

Tennis which is especially considered a genteel sport with laisse-faire fans showing up with kids, the outrageous behaviour by some, could be potentially dangerous. Items that are allowed into the arena can now become weapons of assault.

All in all the beginning of the tennis season will be remembered for this wild incident at an international and family event like the Australian Tennis Open.

Latest developments police said they would study video footage of scuffles between Serbian and Croatian youths at the Australian Open to try to identify the culprits, though it wasn't clear if criminal charges would be pursued.

Superintendent Chris Duthie said yesterday that police were seeking video footage shown on news media as part of further investigations into the fighting.

"They have already started investigating. We need to obtain the footage now and we can go from there," Duthie said.

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