Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Men held and freed in flare probe

David Bryan was hit by a flare or smoke bomb during Aston Villa's match against Tottenham
David Bryan was hit by a flare or smoke bomb during Aston Villa's match against Tottenham

Two men arrested after an assistant referee was hit by a smoke bomb during Tottenham's victory over Aston Villa have been released on police bail.

The men, aged 25 and 47, were arrested after official David Bryan was struck by the missile, which was thrown during the first half.

West Midlands Police said the pair have now been released on police bail, pending further inquiries.

The game at Villa Park was delayed as the smoking missile was removed but Bryan was unharmed and able to continue.

The incident occurred amid the celebrations after Andros Townsend had put Spurs on course for their 2-0 win with the opening goal after 31 minutes.

The Football Association will now wait for referee Phil Dowd's report before deciding upon its next course of action.

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

"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."

Police officers and stewards moved in to remove supporters from the away fans section, which is housed in the Doug Ellis Stand.

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas condemned the people responsible.

He said: "Obviously it is not great to see. It should be avoided completely. I think it touched the linesman.

"I think situations like this do not have a place in football. I sincerely hope it does not happen again."

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