A soccer match in the United Arab Emirates erupted into violent scuffles between angry supporters of opposing teams, a rare scene of chaos that led authorities to call for the arrest of “all rioters”.
Prosecutors in the capital of Abu Dhabi issued an order on Sunday for the arrest of those who instigated the riot during the match between Al Ain and Al Wahda clubs, warning the authorities “will respond strongly” and urging “sportsmanship among club supporters to avoid endangering the lives and safety of others.
The statement from the official UAE news agency, WAM, did not give details on the number of arrests.
Footage posted on social media showed Emirati fans streaming onto the pitch in their traditional white kanduras and beginning to attack players as security guards rushed to restrain them.
Another video showed groups of men fighting and throwing shoes at each other in the stadium stands. At least one spectator appeared to be injured lying on the ground as rival supporters brawled. It is not known how many people were injured in the riot.
The incident marked a rare outburst of violence in this business-friendly, tourism-oriented Gulf Arab sheikh. Protests, demonstrations and political expression are heavily suppressed in the autocratic country.
Al Ain beat close challengers Al Wahda in the game 1-0, taking their lead at the top of the league this season to seven points.