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Saudi Arabian FA launches review after Al-Ittihad player whipped by fan in ‘disgraceful’ attack

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The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has launched a review of its spectator code of conduct after Al-Ittihad striker Abderrazak Hamdallah appeared to be whipped by a crowd member.

Al-Ittihad were thrashed 4-1 by runaway Saudi Pro League leaders Al-Hilal in the Saudi Super Cup final in Abu Dhabi last Thursday.

Footage shared on social media by Al Jazeera showed Morocco international Hamdallah – who scored in the game – approaching a fan in the first few rows to throw water at him.

The supporter then reaches over the rail and appears to strike Hamdallah twice with a whip, prompting officials and other players to rush to the scene.

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On Monday, the SAFF and the Football Players’ Association of Saudi Arabia (PFA) released a joint statement in response to the incident, saying they were “shocked” by the “disgraceful” attack.

“Like all other AFC and wider FIFA member associations, the priority of SAFF is to preserve the safety and enjoyment for everyone who just loves watching and playing the game,” the statement read.

“Football in Saudi Arabia is a family game and thankfully, fan disorder is extremely rare. It’s why the actions of this so-called fan go against all that Saudi football represents and we completely condemn the incident.

“There will be a thorough review of the spectator code of conduct.

“The review will ensure updated rules and regulations are put in place to swiftly and effectively impose suitable penalties to help avoid any repeat of such incidents.

“Even though the match took place outside Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation and the Football Players’ Association stand united in their commitment to prioritise safety and wellbeing at stadiums and will keep implementing comprehensive measures to maintain a secure environment for everyone involved in the game.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.

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