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Team thrown out of football league after brawl

VICTIMS: Chaucer College said some of the team do not want to play in England again after the incident
VICTIMS: Chaucer College said some of the team do not want to play in England again after the incident

JAPANESE students were chaperoned to a football match by a former Met police officer after four were assaulted in a brawl.

The Predators – one of two teams from Chaucer College in Canterbury – were attacked by opposition players during a recent match in the Pitch Invasion league based at Kent University.

One suffered a split lip and three others were bruised after players and some opposition fans, including women, became involved.

The college said the incident had distressed and upset the players, some of whom do not want to play here again.

Principal Keith Wren said the players do not want to press charges and are due to return to Japan after exams in three weeks.

Predators coach and Chaucer College staff member, Paul Martin, said: "Four of our players were punched in the face and kicked which was very unpleasant.

"Some of them now say they never want to play in England again."

Mr Martin said his players had also allegedly suffered racial abuse before and during the match. They were leading 3-0 when a sending off of an opposition player sparked the brawl.

He confirmed two college security staff – one of whom is a former Metropolitan police officer – attended Sunday's game which passed without incident.

They will attend the team's final games this Sunday.

Pitch Invasion condemned the attack and said it would assist the college in any formal complaint to police.

The incident was reported to both the Kent Football Association and the Kick Racism Out of Football campaign.

It has banned the offending team from the league and offered to speak to police to attend this week's matches if the Japanese players felt "too intimidated" to play.

Mr Martin added Pitch Invasion had been "very supportive" by removing the team from the league.

But he claimed some red-carded players were beating league rules by giving false names to play again before their bans had been served.

He said: "I want to stress how much our students enjoy playing football and also how friendly many of the teams that we play against are.

"The students do not want to press any charges and just want to forget about this incident and get on with their remaining three weeks in England, during which time they have exams."

Craig Davies, of Pitch Invasion, condemned the attack but conceded some players were using false names.

He added it would support Chaucer College if it complained to the police.

"This has no place in Pitch Invasion leagues," said Mr Davies.

"Our disciplinary action is more stringent than the Premiership in that some players can be banned for up to 16 weeks for violent conduct.

"If two or three teams are causing trouble then the others would quickly disappear and we don't want that.

"We have match co-ordinators at every location and they tend to know which players are troublemakers.

"We do ask for all player names when teams register but some do give Mickey Mouse names."

He said the referee had described the brawl as a "huge melee" but that he had made no mention of racial abuse towards the Predators.

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