Monday, July 21, 2008

What The %*%#&%#? Brawl At Columbus

The MLS invites West Ham United to a preseason tour and friendlies agaisnt MLS clubs and the MLS All-Star game, and this crap happens:
An official of the West Ham soccer club today condemned the actions of fans involved in a brawl yesterday at the Columbus Crew match, but said the trip to
Columbus was a positive one for the British club.

West Ham chief executive Scott Duxbury said the club was satisfied that "this was an isolated incident."

The incident, which began when about a dozen West Ham fans entered the Crew supporters section in the stadium’s northeast corner, ended when Columbus police made one arrest on the stadium concourse and helped security staff defuse the situation. No injuries were reported.

“While we take such matters seriously and utterly condemn the actions of those involved, we must not let this mar what has been a positive trip so far and the excellent way we and our supporters have been treated in Columbus," Duxbury said.

Crew general manager Mark McCullers would not comment on the matter today.

“It’s been our policy since the stadum opened that security matters are not going to be part of the public domain,” McCullers said. “It contradicts our ability to execute security plans, so we’ve got to stick with that.”

West Ham United beat the Columbus Crew 3-1.
Columbus was the site of a racial taunt incident a few weeks ago. As a result of the latest incident, Columbus will have to play their next home game in an empty stadium. There have been other incidents in other nations where teams were told they had to play to an empty stdium. Still, I never thought it would happen here.

I'm not sure who started the incident, press reports indicate that Crew Supporters were hurling chants and Hammer supporters, and West Ham supporters entered Crew seating areas and the brawl kicked off.

Now based solely on the press reports, you would think the West Ham fans would have a thicker skin, after all, they play in the Premier League. But still, this is not the kind of behavior I want to see in MLS.

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