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I saw injured fans bleeding on the pitch: soccer riot ref

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An English fan is restrained by gardai during the Republic of Ireland v England friendly. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

An English fan is restrained by gardai during the Republic of Ireland v England friendly. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

An English fan is restrained by gardai during the Republic of Ireland v England friendly. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

THE referee on duty on the night of the Lansdowne Road riots still regrets having to halt the match, he has said.

Dutch ref Dick Jol brought the 1995 game between Ireland and England to an end when hooligans began rioting.

"The atmosphere was good until Ireland scored 1-0. Then after a few minutes... I got a call from the assistant referee that pieces of the stadium were being thrown on to the pitch," Mr Jol told the Herald.

Once the English supporters started rioting, the referee "gave the signal" for the players to come off. "I saw what was happening behind his (the assistant referee's) back.

"That was the moment to get off the pitch," said Mr Jol, a distant cousin of Fulham manager Martin Jol.

He had the option of restarting the game but when he went back out on to the pitch he knew it was a non-runner.

"A lot of people were on the pitch and wounded. I saw people bleeding. It was really terrible. We decided to stop the game.

"The rules state we had to go 10 minutes inside and into the dressing room and then go back to see if the pitch is clear to play again but it was impossible," he said.

"It was a very hard experience for me. You see thousands of people walking to the stadium ... so it was very disappointing to end the match. It was terrible," Mr Jol (57) added.

 

Whiskey

"It was a big match for me as well. I still feel sad now," he told the Herald.

By chance, he bumped into President Mary Robinson – who he had been introduced to at the match – in Dublin Airport the following day.

"She gave me compliments, how I handled the situation and gave me a big bottle of Irish whiskey, malt whiskey," revealed Mr Jol, who is now retired.

He keeps the bottle as a reminder of the match.

"I never opened the whiskey because it was in memory of that match. I have it in my closet. I will never open it," he said.

The game was the biggest match in his career at that stage.

He went on to officiate at the 2001 Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Valencia as well as other internationals including the European Championships. He said the national anthems were interrupted by both sets of fans.

"During the anthems, the first national anthem was from England, God Save The Queen. The Irish supporters sang 'God f*** the queen'," he said.

"During the Irish national anthem, the Soldier's Song, in several spots of the stadium they sang 'No Surrender to the IRA'. At that moment it was strange for me to hear that.

"It was not a good feeling for me," he added.

 


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