Linesman Hit By Flare During Spurs-Villa Match

Linesman Hit By Flare During Spurs-Villa Match

Two men have been arrested after a linesman was hit on the back of the head with a smoke-emitting flare during a Premier League football game.

Assistant referee David Bryan was struck by the cannister, which was initially thought to be a lit flare, during the Tottenham Hotspur versus Aston Villa game in Birmingham on Sunday.

The flare, which poured out blue smoke, was thrown from the Spurs supporters' section.

Video footage showed it being thrown from around 10 to 15 rows back from the front of the stands.

Mr Bryan was hit on the back of the neck by the object which was thrown during celebrations after the first goal, scored by England winger Andros Townsend.

The linesman stumbled forward but remained on his feet.

Play in the match was held up while the matter was investigated. Police and stewards later led away a spectator.

A few minutes after the game was stopped, Mr Bryan indicated he was not affected by what had happened and the match was restarted.

Within an hour or so police had announced they had arrested two men aged 25 and 47. They said the linesman was not injured.

A police spokesman said: "Police have arrested two men after a lit flare was thrown on the pitch during the Villa v Spurs game - the flare hit a linesman.

"The two men aged 25 and 47 were arrested following the incident at Villa Park - fortunately the linesman wasn't injured."

The force later said that after further investigation the missile was found to be a smoke bomb.

The Football Association and the Premier League have said they will investigate.

Tottenham Hotspur have said that if it is found to have been one of their fans they will ban them for life.

An FA spokesman said: "The FA will investigate this matter, which is unacceptable. We will await the match officials' report and will be speaking to the clubs.

"Such incidents highlight the dangers of pyrotechnics being used in a football stadium."

Tottenham ended up winning the match 2-0.