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Pair arrested after linesman hit by flare

Updated: 2013-10-22 07:26
By Agence France-Presse in Birmingham, England ( China Daily)

Two men were arrested after an assistant referee was struck by a flare thrown from the stands during Tottenham Hotspur's 2-0 Premier League win at Aston Villa on Sunday.

Spurs had just taken a 31st-minute lead on a goal by Andros Townsend at Villa Park when a canister trailing black smoke was lobbed towards the playing surface, apparently from the away supporters' section.

It hit assistant referee David Bryan on the back, causing him to stumble forwards, but after a brief stoppage in play while referee Phil Dowd spoke to his colleague, the game continued.

Local police revealed that two men had been arrested in relation to the incident.

"Police have arrested two men after a lit flare was thrown on the pitch during the Villa v Spurs game; the flare hit a linesman," said a statement from West Midlands Police published on Twitter.

"The two men, aged 25 and 47, were arrested following the incident at Villa Park. Fortunately the linesman wasn't injured."

Later Sunday, the Football Association said the incident would be investigated.

"The FA will investigate this matter, which is unacceptable," said a spokesman.

"We will await the match officials' report and will be speaking to the clubs.

"Such incidents highlight the dangers of pyrotechnics being used in a football stadium."

Rio's new job

Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand was added to a commission set up by the English Football Association to improve the national team on Sunday after it was criticized by an FA board member for lacking diversity.

The FA said that England manager Roy Hodgson had also been added to the group, whose task is to investigate how to increase the number of England-qualified players appearing for the country's top clubs.

Heather Rabbatts, an FA board member, accused the governing body's commission on Saturday of not reflecting "the diverse society which we live in".

(China Daily 10/22/2013 page23)