Edinburgh Police are investigating after a youth football match was thrown into chaos as players and parents fought on the pitch over the weekend.
The officers were scramble to visit Dunbar Utd’s Countess Park, which was the venue for the South East Region Final between Portobello and Tynecastle U16, yesterday afternoon (Sunday 29 May).
The game ended 2-2 when an alleged accidental collision between the Tynecastle goalkeeper and a Portobello player resulted in the latter being knocked unconscious and play stopped as a result.
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Quick-thinking adults in the scene tended to the unconscious player as chaos unfolded around them.
The incident led to a mass brawl between the two opposing players, groups of young and adult fans – with multiple sources claiming at least two teenage footballers were slapped in the face while another received racial slurs.
Parents were alleged to have been involved in the melee after the players got involved in a brawl and a group of teenage spectators aggravated the issue – with some apparently confronting the teenage players involved.
Although it is known that the vast majority of the adults present had stormed the pitch to defuse tensions.
A source who has been involved with youth football for years said: “This is the worst thing I’ve seen during my time in football.”
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The game was abandoned after police dispersed the crowd and it is understood there will be no replay, although this has not yet been confirmed.
The source added: “There was an accidental collision between the Tynie keeper and a Portobello player but it all stemmed from that.
“There are always big crowds at these cup finals at the end of the season. But once things got going, players from both teams apparently started fighting and the parents rushed onto the pitch, reportedly trying to fight each other and players.
“I had spoken to boy scouts and they said they had never seen anything like it. The referee is said to have been shaken.
“I heard the referee wanted to award a penalty but it has all just begun.
“One of the players was apparently adorned with a hook on his jaw. Parents were on the field from all angles and it was claimed they threw punches.
“I spoke to several people and they said they had never seen anything like this in youth football.
“The game is going to the dogs at the moment. Not enough good people involved.”
Another person, who does not wish to be named, confirmed the fight broke out after the accidental collision that left a Portobello player unconscious – the player is believed to be at home now recovering from the injury.
They also confirmed that adult viewers were involved in the on-field violent scene, but that the vast majority were “trying to keep the peace and de-escalate the situation.”
They added: “There wasn’t that much fighting, but there was a lot of pressure. It may have looked worse as everyone crowded onto the pitch.
“A few players were punched and another appeared to be kicked in the head.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Officers were called at around 6.20pm on Sunday 29 March 2022 to reports of a fight at a car park in Kellie Road, Dunbar.
“One person was taken to the hospital for examination. The investigation is ongoing to determine the full circumstances.”
The person taken to hospital was the player, who was knocked unconscious from the accidental collision – it’s believed no one was treated for injuries after the fight.
Both Portobello and Tynecastle U16 have been approached for comment.