This report appeared in The Straits Times on Tuesday. I have highlighted a paragraph in particular and will comment on it later, as per my usual style. Here’s the report:
(The Straits Times, 12 May 2010)
Organisers erect barricades for schools rugby final to prevent pitch invasions
By Chan U-Gene
SUPPORTERS attending tomorrow’s Schools National A Division Rugby Under-20 Police Cup final between Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) (ACS(I)) and Raffles Institution (RI) at the Old Police Academy will be forced to watch the clash behind metal barricades.
The organisers of the tournament have decided to erect the steel barriers following the pitch invasion that marked last month’s B Division U-17 final between St Andrew’s School (SAS) and ACS(I).
The invasion by supporters from both schools took place after Saints player Daniel Tan punched ACS(I)’s Leonard Wee following the heated final which ACS(I) won 8-7.
During that April 12 match, spectators were separated from the pitch by ropes.
Sources have told The Straits Times that SAS and the Singapore Police Force (SPF), the sponsors of the challenge trophy, decided at a meeting after the incident to erect the barricades as a preventive measure.
The barricades were used during the A Division semi-finals last week. They were placed about 5m to 10m from the touch-lines. Yesterday, The Straits Times saw a lorry carrying the yellow barricades into the venue.
Coaches and rugby officials have given the decision the thumbs up. Said RI’s head coach Rhys Jones: ‘It is a good idea, and I am glad that safety issues are taking a step up.’
ACS(I) head coach Adrian Chong is hoping, however, that the barricades will not hinder access between the players and their bench.
St Andrew’s Junior College (SAJC) coach Gene Tong added: ‘It could be dangerous when a player gets tackled near the metal barricade. Maybe the organisers can consider using foam barricades in future.’
The precautionary measures for tomorrow’s 4.15pm game between the top two rugby schools had the approval of Singapore Rugby Union chief Low Teo Ping as well.
‘The host venue is supposed to prevent encroachment onto the field by spectators. I am glad such measures have been taken. This will allow the players to focus on their game,’ he said.
But national convener George Danapal refused to comment when asked. He also declined to provide the team lists and score of yesterday’s third-place play-off between SAJC and Anglo-Chinese JC. For the record, SAJC won 18-3.
‘After the mess you guys created the last time, I can’t give it to you. I have to check with CCAB (Co-curricular Activities Branch) first,’ he said in a reference to the media coverage of the post-match fracas at the B final, which sparked a public outcry.
Both schools have since decided to organise a reconciliation session for the two teams. In a separate incident, two ACS(I) students were assaulted by a person at a bus stop near the venue after the game. The assailant is believed to be an SAS Secondary Four student, who was not in his school uniform at the time.
I was very bemused yet saddened when I read the paragraphs on national convenor George Danapal’s refusal to give the team lists and score to The Straits Times and his reason for not doing so:
“After the mess you guys created the last time, I can’t give it to you.”
I found Danapal’s comment ironic.
Why don’t we go through this step by step? Let us ask: who started this mess in the first place?
Who opted to use his fists to hammer the ACS-I player who had apparently hurled a slur at him?
Some would say that he reacted because he was provoked. As far as I am concerned, trash-talking should never be allowed in sport. But it does. Yet to react to it with violence is wrong and the greater sin.
Subsequently, which student from which school assaulted the two ACS-I boys at the bus-stop after the game? The answer is here.
So, Mr Danapal, who created this mess in the first place?
The newspapers? For being there at the final, catching the assault first hand and then reporting extensively on it?
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan