Saudi FA to review spectator rules after fan whips player

The Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) will review its “spectator code of conduct” after the “disgraceful” incident that saw an individual whip Al Ittihad striker Abderrazak Hamdallah.

During the award ceremony after Al Hilal’s 4-1 win over Al Ittihad in the Saudi Super Cup final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Thursday, a fan in the stands close to the field was captured on video reaching over the railing and hitting Hamdallah with a whip.

Hamdallah, a Morocco international, had just thrown water at the individual following a heated exchange between the two.

The SAFF and the Football Players Association of Saudi Arabia (PFA) said in a statement that it was “shocked with the disgraceful scenes involving a physical attack by an individual spectator on a member of the team from Al Ittihad Club.”

The statement added: “Like all other AFC and wider FIFA member associations, the priority of SAFF is to preserve the safety and enjoyment for everyone who just love watching and playing the game. 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 represent 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 of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation and the Football Players Association of Saudi Arabia stand united in their commitment to prioritize safety and well-being at stadiums and will keep implementing comprehensive measures to maintain a secure environment for everyone involved in the game.”