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Football

Roma tie abandoned after ref hit


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Swedish referee Frisk receives attention after being hit by a missile

ROMA, Italy (Reuters) -- AS Roma face severe penalties from UEFA after their opening Champions League Group B match against Dynamo Kiev was abandoned on Wednesday when referee Anders Frisk was felled by an object thrown from the crowd.

TV pictures showed Frisk bending to his knees as blood poured from a wound in the middle of his forehead after he was struck by what appeared to be a cigarette lighter at the end of the first half.

The incident came moments after the Swede had sent off Roma's French defender Philippe Mexes for kicking Kiev striker Maris Verpakovskis.

Frisk needed medical attention to the wound, and after a 40 minute delay, it was announced over the Olympic Stadium loudspeaker the match was being abandoned.

"The referee decided to suspend the match first because he was seriously hurt, and second because he says that his safety -- and the safety of his assistants and the fourth man -- cannot be guaranteed," a UEFA official told reporters.

Television pictures showed a bearded fan in a black t-shirt throwing an object towards the referee, but it was unclear whether that was the object that hit the 41-year-old Swede.

The incident began when Frisk sent off Mexes shortly after blowing the whistle for halftime.

While players and officials remonstrated, Frisk was struck as he made his way off the field to the tunnel and changing rooms.

At the end of the first half Dynamo led the hosts 1-0 thanks to a 29th-minute free kick by defender Goran Gavrancic.

Rome's Olympic Stadium already held unpleasant memories for Frisk.

In March 2002 he refereed Roma's Champions League match against Galatasaray, which degenerated into a brawl involving players and officials from both sides shortly after the final whistle.

On that occasion Roma captain Francesco Totti received a three-match ban, while striker Gabriel Batistuta and team coach Fabio Capello were punished with one and two-match bans respectively.

The consequences this time round could be more severe and include a stadium ban.

Wednesday's incident highlights the continuing problem of violence in Italian stadiums.

Last season Roma and Lazio fans clashed with police outside the Olympic Stadium after the city derby was suspended by a false rumour that a child had been killed by a police car.

A year ago a fan fell to his death as rioting fans spilled onto the pitch before a fixture between Serie B sides Napoli and Avellino.


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