Football Game in Tajikistan Ends in Massive Brawl

A football match in the northern Tajik town of Istaravshan had to be abandoned after a massive brawl broke out on the pitch.

On November 8, Dushanbe-based Energetic arrived in the northern town for a national championship game against the local club, Istaravshan. The guests scored first, but Istaravshan players then pressed for most of the second half before finally getting the equalizer on the 81st minute of the game.

According to Tajikistan's Football Federation [ru], the hosts’ equalizer angered Energetic players who felt the goal had to be disallowed. After the referee sent off two players from the guest squad for ‘unsporting behavior’, he was attacked by several players. The incident quickly erupted into a brawl involving the both squads and then into total chaos as crowds of Istaravshan fans invaded the pitch. Match officials then had to call off the game.

Netizens in Tajikistan were quick to react to the incident.

Jasur Ashurov (@jashurov) tweeted [ru]:

@jashurov: Футбол в Таджикистане больше, чем футбол… Похоже, что на этот матч вместо футбольных команд послали боксеров. Позор!

@jashurov: Football in Tajikistan is more than just Football… It looks like they sent boxers instead of football players to this match. Shame!

He added [ru] later:

@jashurov: Зато наши рефери хорошо знают, что подсуживать нельзя. Народный суд в футболе неизбежен!

@jashurov: But at least our referees know well that they shouldn't favor teams. In football, you get punished by people for that!

Blogger Beparvo wrote [ru]:

Это же позор всему Таджикистану. Итак нас по всему миру пальцами показывают, рисуют как кисточки и шпатели, теперь мы сами себя тоже позорим. Как такое возможно что в игре высшей лиги такой бардак происходит! Почему футболисты думают что такое поведение им разрешено! Непонятно почему милиция не смогла ничгео сделать.

This is a shame for all of Tajikistan. Even without this, we are portrayed all over the world as paint brushes and trowels, and now we shame ourselves even more. How is it possible that a High League game ends in such a mess? Why do football players believe that this kind of behavior is permissible? I don't understand why police couldn't do anything.

Underneath the blogger's post, Rishdor commented [ru]:

Футбол в Таджикистан это политика. Кто во главе федерасии футбола? Сын президента. Чей команда вегда побеждает? Сын президента. Слишком много политики. И все знают что наши рефери продаются и покупаются. Это очевидно в каждом матче. Футболисты и зрители ведь не дураки, они все видят. Вот все и злые готовые взорваться в любую минуту.

Football in Tajikistan is politics. Who heads the Football Federation? President's son. Whose football club always wins? The club of the president's son. Too much politics. And everyone knows that our referees can be bought and sold. This is clear in every match. Football players and fans are not idiots, they see everything. This is why they are all angry and ready to explode at any moment.

But another user, Isfandiyor Zarafshoni, disagreed [ru]:

Но политика тут совсем непричем. У нас во всей стране такой бардак и никто не может навести порядок.

Politics has nothing to do with it. Out entire country is such a mess and there is nobody who would be able to bring about order.

Some netizens believe the latest incident will only make Tajik football more interesting. Tomiris (@tomiristj), for example, tweeted [ru]:

@tomiristj: Зато теперь нашему футболу добавится зрелищности :). Все захотят ходить на футбол, если там постоянно такое будет твориться.

@tomiristj: But now our football will gain in terms of entertainment :). Everybody will want to attend football games if such incidents happen there every time.

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