Betis sanctioned after fan hurled pipe at Sevilla player

Sports Desk, Jan 19 (EFE).- The Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) said Wednesday that Real Betis must play their next two home matches at a venue other than the club’s Benito Villamarin stadium after a supporter threw a PVC pipe at a Sevilla player during last weekend’s Copa del Rey match between the neighboring clubs.

The match was suspended with six minutes left in the first half with the score at 1-1. The teams completed the contest on Sunday behind closed doors and Betis prevailed 2-1 to advance to the quarterfinals of the competition.

“In light of the facts,” the RFEF said, the disciplinary official was forced to conclude that the steps taken by Real Betis to prevent misconduct by supporters “have shown themselves to be insufficient.”

The incident occurred as Betis and their supporters were still celebrating a goal by Nabil Fekir that brought the hosts level just four minutes after Papu Gomez gave Sevilla a 1-0 lead.

Sevilla midfielder Joan Jordan was standing near his team’s goal when what was later identified as a hollow PVC pipe measuring 50 centimeters (19.7 inches) in length hit the back of his head.

The pipe was thrown from a section of the stands filled with people sporting Betis shirts and scarves and waving banners of the home team.

Jordan walked off the pitch after receiving medical attention and a subsequent checkup at a nearby hospital ruled out serious injury.

While the judgment requires Betis to find an alternative venue for their next two home games, it does not prohibit the presence of fans.

Real Betis have 10 business days to appeal the sanction.

“El Gran Derbi” is typically accompanied by tensions between Sevilla and Betis supporters and for last weekend’s tie, municipal authorities deployed some 600 police, firefighters and private security guards to the stadium to avert violence. EFE id/dr

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