The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) began disciplinary action on Wednesday following a football match between Israel’s Maccabi Haifa and Malta’s Hamrun Spartans.
The match, held a day earlier as part of the Champions League qualifiers, was disrupted however following violence carried out by the Israeli fans, reacting to chants of ‘Palestine, Palestine, Palestine’ by the Maltese fans.
Hamrun Spartans vs Maccabi Haifa, Champions League Qualifiers. Absolutely violent behaviour by Israeli ultras. They even threw flares at Maltese families with kids. Match interrupted. Crazy pic.twitter.com/H00f9d7tIF
— Martin Mazur (@martinmazur) July 11, 2023
Tensions rose when the Maccabi fans threw fireworks at the Centinari Stadium in Takalle, purportedly as a response to the chants from local fans, after which the match was interrupted for about 30 minutes.
UEFA accused both clubs of “throwing foreign objects” and “rioting” by their fans. Maccabi faced additional charges of “lighting fireworks” and “acts of vandalism”.
Five Israeli fans have been arrested, according to the Times of Israel.
يستمر رفض الاندية الصهيونية من المشاركة في دوري ابطال اوروبا جماهيرياً وليس على مستوى الاداري..
في التصفيات المؤهلة لدوري الابطال يوم امس بين هامرون سبارتانز المالطي و مكابي حيفا جمهور هامرون المالطي هتفوا بفلسطين 🇵🇸 بينما جمهور مكابي حيفا هجم عليهم.
— نواف العقيّل (@nawaf__oga) July 12, 2023
Malta Today newspaper reported that two pleaded guilty on Wednesday in a local court.
According to the newspapers, police told the court that the two men were arrested after throwing fireworks and that three other flares were found when they were searched.
The two men were given 12 months in prison, suspended for three years and fined $337 each.
Police said earlier that fans who were searched at the entrance to the stadium turned out to be smuggling fireworks in their underwear.
11/07/2023, Hamrun Spartans🇲🇹 v Maccabi Haifa🇮🇱, troubles after Hamrun fans were chanting "Palestina, Palestina" pic.twitter.com/ygkQJzGLv8
— 𝐂𝐚𝐬𝐮𝐚𝐥 𝐔𝐥𝐭𝐫𝐚 𝐎𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥 (@thecasualultra) July 12, 2023
Maccabi won the match 4-0, with the second match scheduled for July 18 in Israel.
(Sanad, Aljazeera, PC)