Ethiopia suspends football championship after attack on referee
The Ethiopian Football Federation decided Thursday to suspend the country's football championships because a team manager beat up a referee on Monday after he had awarded a goal to their rivals.
During a special meeting to discuss the incident, the federation took the decision to allow time for discussions on recurring security incidents in and around football stadiums in the country.
"We want to discuss with the police in the different areas of the country to improve security," said the president of the EFF, Juneidi Basha, who is supervising the first division championship, the Ethiopian Premier League, and the 16 clubs taking part.
On Monday night, during a match between the clubs Wolwelo Adigrat and Defence in the capital Addis Ababa, players with Wolwelo protested a goal they said was unjustly awarded to the rival team.
Images on state television ETV showed a member of the Wolwelo management team chasing the referee, push him to the ground and punch him at least once.
The culprit has since been fired and is facing a disciplinary commission which will rule in the next three days, according to Juneidi.
The country's referee association has demanded he face criminal charges.
The association also announced a three-week strike on Wednesday and the EFF is hoping the suspension of the championship will allow time to hold talks with the disgruntled referees.
Juneidi said the EFF was prepared to accede to some of their demands, including paying medical insurance fees and guaranteeing secure transport between matches.
Ethiopia's football season has been marred by several acts of violence against referees and between rival supporters.
In April spectators swarmed onto a football field during a match between the Woldiya and Fasil clubs, injuring two match officials and a coach.
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