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Monday, March 30, 1998 Published at 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK



Sport: Football

Two released after fan killed
image: [ Police treating the incident as 'murder' ]
Police treating the incident as 'murder'

Police say they have released two of three men who were being questioned about the death of a Fulham supporter after a match against Gillingham on the weekend.


BBC Correspondent Tim Maby analyses the likely effects of the incident ('4 ''0).
The dead man, named as Matthew Fox from Purley in Surrey died from head injuries when fighting broke out between 50 rival fans outside Gillingham's ground on Saturday evening.

Violence flared as fans left the Kent club's Priestfield Stadium following their 2-0 win against the London side.

Relatives of the dead man visited the scene of the tragedy and stayed for about 30 minutes watching police forensic experts at work.

Football chiefs have demanded an urgent inquiry into the murder amid mounting concern that violence could spill over into this summer's World Cup finals in France.


Gillingham fans say the death has rocked the club (1'20')
Some spectators said police officers at the game should not have allowed both sets of fans to leave the grounds at the same time.

Serious incidents at soccer matches are now relatively rare in Britain, testimony to huge efforts made in recent years to clamp down on hooliganism.


[ image: As condolences flood in the police have appealed for witnesses]
As condolences flood in the police have appealed for witnesses
The Gillingham manager, Tony Pulis, said: "The game is insignificant for me now. There are mindless people around. I hope the person who has done this is found and put away for the rest of their lives."


Home Secretary Jack Straw: I'm angry and sad (17')
The Home Secretary Jack Straw, football authorities and a fans' organisation have condemned the violence.

Mr Straw said: "I await the full facts of this particular incident but I utterly deplore any mindless hooliganism which can, as we have seen in Gillingham, have the most serious possible consequences.


BBC Correspondent Clarence Mitchell reports from Chatham police station in Kent ('1 ''58).
"These events will serve only to increase the determination of the football authorities, the police and the government to rid the game of the problem."

Weekend of violence

The death came on a day in which football and rugby matches were marred by crowd trouble.


[ image: A Barnsley fan is led away after invading the pitch]
A Barnsley fan is led away after invading the pitch
Furious fans at Barnsley football club invaded the pitch twice after the referee sent off three of the team's players during a home match with Liverpool and there was also an incident in the Premiership match between Everton and Aston Villa at Goodison Park.

A fan ran on to the field, seemingly intent on arguing with the referee, but was led away by stewards and police before be got anywhere near the official.

Trouble also broke out at the rugby league Silk Cut Challenge Cup semi-final between the Sheffield Eagles and Salford at Headingley in Leeds, when the referee Stuart Cummings was wrestled to the ground by a fan.
 





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