Bucharest derby abandoned over crowd violence

March 20, 2008

BUCHAREST, March 20 (Reuters) - Rapid Bucharest's Romania derby against Steaua was abandoned on Thursday when the home side's fans threw objects, mainly stones and cigarette lighters, onto the pitch.

Referee Alexandru Deaconu ended the match in the 73rd minute, a minute after a stone struck him on the head, when Rapid were leading 1-0 with a goal scored by defender Cristian Sapunaru six minutes earlier.

The visiting Steaua players had to wait in their changing room for more than an hour before they could leave the ground.

According the Romanian Soccer Federation (FRF) rules, Rapid could be penalised with a 3-0 defeat, a 10-point deduction and have their stadium suspended.

'We'll apply the rules,' FRF president Mircea Sandu told reporters without elaborating.

Rapid officials strongly criticised the referee's decision and club vice-president Constantin Zotta said the fans who caused the trouble were Steaua supporters in among the home crowd.

'Several Steaua fans deliberately provoked the trouble,' Zotta told reporters.

Steaua are second in the standings with 47 points from 23 matches and Rapid third with 45. Leaders CFR Cluj have 56 points from 24 games after beating Farul Constanta 2-1 on Wednesday.