Student Sport: British football team in brawl

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The Independent Online
THE WORST fears of the organisers of the 20th World Student Games were realised in Magaluf yesterday, when the British football team's final game of the tournament, against Uruguay, ended in a brawl.

Police were called in to escort the British team from the San Fernando pitch after they had been attacked by their South American opponents, and to protect them from further assaults later when they boarded the team bus to take them back to the athletes' village.

Locals have been wary that the presence of nearly 6,000 student sportsmen and women staying in the holiday resort during the 10-day Games might result in rowdy behaviour.

With all sports except athletics finishing yesterday, and with the normally boisterous closing ceremony scheduled for tonight, about 200 extra police have been drafted in to Magaluf from the Spanish mainland to avoid clashes at the end of what have been dubbed the Club 18-30 Games.

The incident at the football match happened after Britain had scored their fourth goal in a 4-0 victory. Three players, two of them Uruguayan, had been sent off during the ill-tempered game, which was to decide ninth and 10th places.

Britain's Mark Coates was set upon by several Urug-uayans after scoring in injury time. The referee intervened, and quickly drew an end to the game, when the whole of the Uruguayan squad began to attack the British players.

"I've never seen anything like it," said the British team manager, Ian Moir. "I've spoken to the referee, and he is perfectly happy that the British team did nothing to provoke the attacks."