Sixty injured, match abandoned in Colombia riot

March 8, 2008

BOGOTA, March 9 (Reuters) - Around sixty people were injured during a riot which forced the Colombian derby between America and Deportivo Cali to be abandoned on Saturday night.

Referee Wilmer Roldan called the match off in the 82nd minute as riot police attempted to stop a fight among America fans in the Pascual Guerrero stadium in the south-western city of Cali.

Tempers also frayed on the pitch when America coach Diego Umana was seen to punch his Cali counterpart Daniel Carreno while America players, angry at the suspension of the game, chased the referee off the pitch.

A Red Cross official told reporters that the injury count was around 60 as the victims were treated at the edge of the pitch. Deportivo Cali were winning 1-0 at the time.

Trouble broke out when members of the America supporters group, known as the Red Baron, began fighting amongst themselves.

Riot police moved in to quell the fighting while other supporters attempted to break down a fence and invade the pitch.

At the same time, a brawl erupted on the pitch and when referee Roldan called the game off, he was surrounded by America players and forced into the tunnel.

Carreno attempted to hit back at Umana after being punched during the melee but was held back by his players.

Umana said that he did not realise he had hit his rival coach. 'Someone was annoying me and I didn't see who it was,' he said on the website of el Tiempo newspaper.

'It's my fault and if I have to quit football, that's the way it is. I lost control because of the refereeing...' Colombia media said the result would stand.

Colombia media said there was also fighting outside the stadium where police used tear gas to disperse supporters.