• Kyodo News


The reigning Asian Champions League champion Urawa Reds have been slapped with the biggest fine in J. League history for failing to prevent violent clashes between rival supporters at a home match last month.

The fine was ¥20 million, twice as much as the former all-time record. Gamba Osaka, the opponents in the May 17 match, were fined ¥10 million.

J. League chairman Kenji Onitake, announcing the penalties on Tuesday, said Urawa’s management was “gravely responsible for giving an impression to society that football stadiums are dangerous.”

Gamba’s 3-2 win over Urawa at Saitama Stadium sparked what was described as the worst crowd trouble since the league started 15 years ago.

Noisy rejoicing by Gamba supporters in the stands triggered a scuffle between players from the two teams on the pitch.

Riot police were called in as the commotion spread to the stands, with fans trashing safety fences and seats. A Gamba fan was injured when he fell from the stands.

Some 5,000 Urawa supporters blocked 800 Osaka fans from leaving the stadium for 3 1/2 hours.

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