Feud between Aussie clubs turns into armed violence

SYDNEY: Australian police have launched an investigation into a feud between two ethnic soccer clubs that escalated into gunshots and firebombing. 

Australian soccer officials have also threatened to expel the two Sydney clubs from the state league while the government wants to introduce new laws banning sporting hooligans for life. 

The clubs at the centre of the row are Croatian-backed Sydney United and Serbian supported Bonnyrigg White Eagles, who play in the second-tier New South Wales state league. 

About 50 fans of the clubs were involved in a riot when the sides met in a league match on Sunday. Two police officers were injured during the brawl, in which flares and other objects were thrown, and a number of arrests were made. 

The trouble worsened on Monday when a car belonging to an employee of Sydney United was set on fire then up to 12 shots were fired into the Bonnyrigg supporters club building. 

No-one was hurt but the police were treating the matter seriously. Acting New South Wales police Superintendent Peter Marcon said it appeared the shooting was retaliation for the fire-bombing.  

“But I think there are other options we need to look at,” Marcon told reporters. “It could be someone just trying to cause trouble between the groups.” 

State police minister Carl Scully said anyone found guilty of such an offence should be banned for life from attending sports events. – Reuters  

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