Football match abandoned after fans invade pitch and throw tennis balls

UK

Reading’s League One match against Port Vale was abandoned after around 1,000 home fans protesting against the club’s owner invaded the pitch.

The start of the game at the Select Car Leasing Stadium had already been held up for three minutes when tennis balls were thrown onto the playing surface.

Referee Ross Joyce then took the players into the dressing rooms after 16 minutes as home fans took to the field of play, with some letting off blue flares.

Many Reading supporters want owner Dai Yongge to sell the club, which is currently fourth from the bottom in the third tier, following sanctions imposed by the EFL.

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Reading fans want Dai Yongge to sell the club

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Fans invade the pitch

There were a string of announcements, including warnings that the match would be abandoned, boos from some home fans who remained in the stands and chants from the travelling Port Vale supporters of: “We want our money back.”

But around 300 Reading fans remained on the pitch and the match was eventually called off at 4.25pm.

A statement posted on Reading’s X account read: “We are fully aware of and understand our supporters’ frustrations, but we must reiterate to our supporters that entering or throwing items on to the pitch can put the fixture at risk of abandonment and can result in personal consequences including banning orders.

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“Thank you for your support today.”

Meanwhile, the League One match between Bolton Wanderers and Cheltenham Town was postponed following a medical emergency in the crowd.

The game at the Toughsheet Community Stadium was halted after 29 minutes in the first half after a fan suffered a suspected cardiac arrest in the East Stand.

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Players leave the pitch after a medical emergency in the crowd

Referee Sunny Singh Gill took the players off the pitch shortly after 3.30pm as medical staff went to help the supporter and the match was officially abandoned 30 minutes later.

Bolton said in a statement: “The man was treated by medical staff and paramedics at the scene, while the two teams were taken off the pitch.

“Following sustained attempts to revive the patient, he was taken to the first aid room at the stadium and the match was abandoned shortly after 4pm.

“The supporter was subsequently taken to hospital and the thoughts of everyone at Bolton Wanderers are with him and his family.

“An update on the supporter’s condition will follow.”

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