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By ESPN Staff
May 9, 2006

Betis protest stadium ban after pitch invasion

MADRID, May 9 (Reuters) - Real Betis have been handed a one-match stadium ban as punishment for a pitch invasion after last weekend's 2-1 victory over Real Mallorca.

Fans of the Seville-based club ran on to the pitch to celebrate a win that guaranteed the club's survival in the top flight, clambering over the goals and tearing up parts of the pitch to take home as souvenirs of the victory.

Betis criticised the punishment, saying that it was unmerited given that the pitch invasion was a celebration and said that they would go to court if necessary to get the decision reversed.

'Real Betis would like to express their indignation at the closure of the stadium,' the club said in a statement. 'Young fans of Real Betis wanted to celebrate the fact that the club had avoided relegation and they had no violent intent.

'Real Betis regret the discrimination to which they have been subjected given that other far more serious incidents have occurred in recently in other stadiums.'

If the ban is enforced it will mean that they will not be able to play their first home match of next season at the Manuel Ruiz de Lopera stadium.