German third-tier match suspended after referee doused in beer

A third-tier game in Germany was suspended on Sunday after the referee was doused in beer by an angry fan at half-time.

Relegation-threatened Zwickau's match against visiting Rot-Weiss Essen did not continue for the second half because referee Nicolas Winter had a cup of beer thrown in his face by a fan, who was apparently unhappy with his decision to send off a Zwickau player and award a penalty to Essen before the interval.

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Winter showed Zwickau defender Nils Butzen a red card for bringing down American forward Isaiah Young, then awarded Essen a penalty for handball from the resultant free kick.

Simon Engelmann scored from the penalty spot to equalise 1-1 before the break, when the home fans made their frustrations known.

The match officials waited, surveying the situation, before the leaving the field.

Magenta Sport TV showed the fan throwing the beer at the referee's face.

On Saturday a Dutch league match between relegation-threatened Groningen and NEC Nijmegen was similarly suspended after a beaker of beer thrown from the crowd struck the assistant referee.

Referee Richard Martens took the players off the field in the 18th minute in line with new Dutch football guidelines, brought in earlier this month after crowd violence in the Dutch Cup semifinal between Feyenoord and Ajax.

A cigarette lighter thrown from the crowd hit Ajax midfielder Davy Klaassen and cut his head, causing a lengthy delay to the match, and drawing widespread condemnation of behaviour at Dutch football games from government ministers and other sectors of civil society.

The Dutch football association then decided that matches should be stopped immediately if a player or match official is hit by an object from the crowd.

They also decided that if an object is thrown from the terraces but misses, play will be temporarily stopped with the players sent to the dressing rooms. If it happens a second time, the match is immediately stopped.

That happened last week in a second-division clash between NAC Breda and Willem II Tilburg that will now be concluded behind closed doors on Tuesday.

"It is inconceivable that an individual, with everything that has happened in the last month here in football, would do this. I think you are out of your mind," Groningen's general manager Wouter Gudde told reporters.

The Groningen-NEC match is also expected to be completed at a later date, again behind closed doors.