The craziest reasons why soccer matches have been postponed

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Over the years, football matches have been temporarily suspended for various strange reasons, whether canine pitch invasions, tennis ball protests or one pig head on the ground, but it takes a lot for an event to end a game.

Usually these cases are as trivial as inclement weather or unplayable terrain, but sometimes the reason for the postponement can be quite unusual.

Here are the craziest reasons why soccer games have been called off over the years, both before the opening whistle or during the game.

The craziest reasons why soccer matches have been postponed


Brazil vs. Argentina: COVID-19 concerns

September 2021

In the past year or so, many games have been called off due to positive COVID-19 tests among players and staff, but health officials stopping the game mid-game must be a first.

According to Brazilian health officials, four of Argentina’s English Premier League players – Giovanni Lo Celso of Spurs and Cristian Romero and Emiliano Martínez and Emiliano Buendía of Aston Villa – broke Brazil’s COVID rules by not quarantining themselves for two weeks after their arrival from England.

Antonio Barra Torres, president of Brazilian health agency ANVISA, said the four Argentine players would be fined and deported for failing to follow Brazilian COVID-19 rules.

“Anvisa and local health authorities have determined that players should self-quarantine,” ANVISA said. “However, even after the meeting and the report to the authorities, the players took part in the training session on Saturday night. The decision to interrupt the match was never within the reach of ANVISA. However, the players in the lineup who did not comply with Brazilian health laws and standards, and who also offered false information to authorities, forced the agency to act, in its own time and in its own way. “

The match has been canceled, to be rescheduled at a later date which remains to be determined.

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Manchester United against Liverpool: protest against the invasion of the pitch

May 2021

Manchester United fans have been fed up with the Glazer family for some time now, but never more so than after the announcement of the European Super League – of which United were at the forefront.

While the Super League had already been called off ahead of the Red Devils’ game against Liverpool on May 2, the game against the Reds was United’s first home game since the announcement, and Manchester’s fan base was ready to make their voice heard. his voice.

Protesters demonstrating outside Old Trafford broke into the stadium and entered the pitch hours before kick-off. Wearing anti-Glazer badges and flares, the boisterous group made their feelings known about the negative direction the club was heading in.

The game was rescheduled for May 13 and ended 4-2 in favor of Liverpool – a small price to pay for the strong message sent by United supporters.

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PAOK v AEK Athens: president of the gun club

March 2018

Not to be confused with the referee who drew a gun during a men’s championship game in Oklahoma a few weeks ago, this heartbreaking incident took place in a crowded stadium. It all started when PAOK’s Fernando Varela apparently scored the game-winning goal in the last minute, but referee Giorgos Kominis refused the goal for offside.

The victory would have lifted PAOK above AEK and to first place in the Greek Super League. Instead, report PAOK chairman Ivan Savvidis storming the pitch surrounded by four bodyguards, his hand holding a holstered pistol on his hip. Savvidis threatened to kill the AEK players and the referee before fleeing the playing field.

Kominis suspended the match, and while Savvidis – a billionaire closely linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin – was not arrested on any criminal charges, he was banned from entering stadiums in Greece for three years (although that did not prevent him from attend PAOK matches abroad).

AEK clinched a 3-0 forfeit victory and won the championship by a six-point margin over PAOK.

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Serbia vs Albania: chaos caused by drones

October 2014

The Euro 2016 qualifying campaign is a campaign that will always stay with me not just for the classic moments on the pitch (Shane Long goal against Germany gives me goosebumps) but also for some of the crazy incidents that happened in the 13 months.

Croatia was sanctioned for having chemically bleached swastika in the field before his match against Italy (the perpetrators were never found, but the Croatian Football Federation was held responsible for not having properly inspected the pitch beforehand).

This happened less than a month after Russia’s match against Montenegro was dropped due to crowd violence and brawls between players (somehow the match was allowed to continue for 67 minutes after Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was hit in head by Montenegrin flair in the first minute, which sent him to the hospital).

Either of these episodes would have been enough to define a whole qualifying campaign, that is to say without the antics that occurred in Belgrade on the third day. There have long been tensions between Albania and Serbia over the region of Kosovo, which has declared independence. originally from Serbia in 2008 and is of Albanian descent.

While away supporters were barred from entering Partizan Stadium in Serbia, disorder still seeped into the ground in the 42nd minute, when a drone appeared above the pitch holding a flag containing the outline of Greater Albania. Greater Albania is a conceptual region that extends the Albanian border to all ethnically Albanian regions, including Kosovo, as well as parts of Serbia, North Macedonia, and Montenegro.

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The flag was later grabbed by Serbian defender Stefan Mitrović before being swept away by Albanian striker Bekim Balaj, who set up a violent series of events. The Albanians were accosted by Serbian players and supporters, forcing them to flee the field while being bombarded by a series of projectiles.

The match was abandoned and declared a 3-0 victory for Serbia as the Albanian players refused to return to the pitch. Yet Serbia were also deducted three points for their role in the incident and forced to play their next two home games behind closed doors.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport then changed the result to give Albania the 3-0 forfeit victory while maintaining Serbia’s points deduction, which was found to be sufficient to allow Albania to qualify. automatically for Euro 2016.

Torquay United vs. Portsmouth: Solar Eclipse

August 1999

Torquay United’s first round match against Portsmouth in the 1999/2000 Worthington Cup (English League Cup) seemed about as routine as it gets on paper – the classic fourth tier underdog with a home game against a higher ranked opposition which provided a great opportunity for some early season momentum.

Everything was normal until the city remembered that there would be a total solar eclipse on the same day. As modern floodlights make this a field visibility issue, local police decided they would not be able to handle a football game in addition to the expected traffic from the eclipse, resulting in the postponement. of the six-day match.

A thin area of ​​southern England was the only part of the UK where the eclipse would be visible, and the seaside town of Torquay – dubbed the English Riviera – was considered the most scenic destination for viewing the solar event .

“A total eclipse is a once in a lifetime event, it has not happened since 1927”, according to one local police chief, and the region was overwhelmed by the number of visitors (nearly a million). But in the end most of the area was clouded over and Torquay lost 3-0 to Portsmouth in a first round replay.

Fiorentina vs. Pistoiese: unidentified flying objects

October 1954

Seven years after the Roswell incident of 1947, the concept of UFOs carrying aliens was becoming more and more prevalent among the conscious public both in America and abroad. From the late 1940s to the 1950s and throughout the 1970s, major UFO sightings occurred across the United States and on nearly every continent, which has made sky-watchers wonder what was in the hereafter.

UFO sightings in Italy, although less extensive than in the United States, date back to 218 BC.

None of this was on the minds of the 10,000 fans who entered the Stadio Artemi Franchi on October 27, 1954 to watch Fiorentina take on Pistoiese in a reserve match. But just after the start of the second half, the crowd’s typical chatter and chants died down. Then, after a few moments, a great clamor came – much like that of a promising offensive movement – except that the focus was not on the pitch, it was on the sky.

As the players stood motionless on the pitch, the 10,000 people present looked up to see the most astonishing sight: flying objects in the sky that seemed to almost hover in place.

“I clearly remember seeing this incredible spectacle,” said one Fiorentina fan Gigi Boni said. “They were moving really fast, then they stopped. It all lasted a few minutes. I would like to describe them as Cuban cigars. They just reminded me of Cuban cigars, by their appearance.”

Those present at the Stadio Artemi Franchi were incredulous, but they were always very sure of what they saw: “I remember everything from A to Z”, defender of Fiorentina Ardico Magnini said. “It was something that looked like an egg moving slowly, slowly, slowly. Everyone looked up and there was also glitter coming down from the sky, glitter of silver. We were amazed at it. never seen anything like it before. We were absolutely shocked. “

According to the official match report from the referee, the match was suspended because spectators saw something in the sky. There were also other UFO sightings that occurred in towns across Tuscany that day – further corroborating the onlookers’ stories.

“I was so curious and I was also so, so happy,” Pistoiese player Romolo Tuci said later. “During those years everyone was talking about aliens, everyone was talking about UFOs and we had the experience, we saw them, we saw them firsthand, for real.”

Although spectator accounts may differ: some say there was an object, others saw several; some saw more spherical shapes, while others characterized the phenomena as more oblong; they can all agree that there was something up there that day, watching a local derby between two reserve teams.


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