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More Than 20 Injured In Clash After Tajik Soccer Match

Soccer is hugely popular in Tajikistan.
Soccer is hugely popular in Tajikistan.

At least 21 people have been injured in a clash that erupted after a domestic-league soccer match in the eastern Tajik city of Khorog.

The Interior Ministry said on September 21 that local soccer fans began throwing stones at each other following the match at a school stadium on September 19, causing injuries and damaging property.

The rampaging fans smashed windows at the school as well as at nearby residential houses and a building, the ministry said. They also damaged six vehicles and broke several stadium seats.

Police have begun a probe into the incident.

"The stone throwing, shouting, and chaos started when Gulaken defeated the other team. It lasted for 10-15 minutes inside the school stadium, before they moved outside to the main street and continued fighting," Gulruz Navruzov, the headmaster of Khorog School No. 2, where the brawl broke out, said on September 21.

Brawls among soccer hooligans are not uncommon in Tajikistan, where the sport is hugely popular.

Riots broke out after a soccer match in the southern city of Kulob in June 2011 when angry fans accused the game's referees of bias. The fans attacked police guarding the stadium and threw stones and other objects at the referees.

In another incident in the same year, some 40 fans were detained in the capital, Dushanbe, for celebrating their team's victory with rowdy behavior, shouting slogans, and throwing rocks at vehicles in the streets.

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