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Brawling parents mar youth football event

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11:44 CET+01:00
Police were called to break up a fight among parents in the stands at a youth indoor football tournament in southern Sweden which left several players in tears as they watched adults exchange punches.

"I've been a coach for many years and it's the worst thing I've ever seen," Måns Ahlm, the trainer for the Åsums BK youth football club, told The Local.

"It was one hell of a commotion up there."

The fight broke out at the end of a semi-final match of the Alliansen indoor football (futsal) tournament, in which the 12-year-olds coached by Ahlm defeated the Wä IF football club by a score of 6-2.

But shortly after the match, the boys from Åsums had their celebrations interrupted by a disturbance in the stands.

To the horror of both players and coaches, several parents began kicking and punching each other for reasons that remain unclear.

Referee Sofia Tjernberg told the local Kristianstadsbladet that 30 to 35 people were involved in the brawl.

"It's the worst thing I've seen," she told the newspaper.

“I saw a woman who kicked a man lying down in the head several times. It was horrible to see."

Four police cars arrived on the scene to help calm things down, although no arrests were made.

The newspaper, which helps organise the tournament, called the fight the "biggest scandal" in the event's 53-year history.

"I never thought I'd see parents fighting in the stands," the paper's sports reporter Patric Nilsson wrote in an opinion article.

Åsums BK trainer Ahlm emphasised, however, that the brawl had nothing to do with the match between his team and Wä IF.

"This came down to a dispute between two fathers, one from each club," he told The Local.

"By the end, there were a lot of parents involved, but from what I could see, most of them were trying to break up the fight."

Nevertheless, the incident was traumatic for many of the boys who looked on in disbelief as their parents and relatives fought.

"They just cried. They were in shock. They'd never seen adults fight before," said Malm.

"To get into a brawl like that at a youth tournament is just indefensible."

The teams are set to play again on Thursday in the tournament's final round. According to Malm, he and the coach of Wä IF have made a joint decision not to play the boys whose parents apparently sparked the fight.

"It's not to punish the boys. Rather, we just don't want to risk having the parents meet again," he said.

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