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Last Updated: Friday, 23 January, 2004, 15:59 GMT
Riot upsets Bangladesh football
By Waliur Rahman
BBC correspondent in Dhaka

The main football tournament in Bangladesh is in crisis after the organisers of the Premier League postponed this week's matches.

The decision follows a pitch invasion by dozens of supporters from leading club Mohammedan Sporting.

Witnesses say supporters went berserk at a controversial refereeing decision.

They tore up the goalposts at the Mirpur National Stadium in the capital Dhaka, burnt an effigy of the referee and damaged stadium billboards.

Ransacked Bangladesh football pitch
Angry fans tore up the nets

The mob were angry because the referee allowed a controversial equalising goal against their club.

Mohammedan players were so enraged by the decision that they walked off the pitch in protest six minutes before the end of time.

Officials at the club say they will now boycott the league unless the decision is reversed and the match referee punished for his "mistake".

Captain suspended

An emergency league committee meeting has now been called to discuss the circumstances of the disputed goal.

In disciplinary proceedings earlier this week, the Football League Committee awarded a full three points to Muktijoddha and deducted one point from Mohammedan.

To make matters worse for the Dhaka club, their captain, Jewell Rana, was suspended for one match for pushing and shoving match officials.

Witnesses say irate supporters ripped up the nets and damaged several stadium billboards.

Witnesses say that police officers stood by without intervening.

There has been no explanation from the police for their visible inaction, but many believe it is because the club is governed by politically powerful quarters.

The prime minister's Political Secretary, Mosaddek Ali, is the chairman.


SEE ALSO:
FIFAS suspends Bangladesh
11 Jan 02  |  South Asia
World Cup: Why can't South Asia make the grade?
27 May 02  |  South Asian Debates
Which team should you support?
29 Jun 01  |  South Asian Debates


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