Weirdest Reasons to Abandon Football Games


Posted: December 11, 2020

Updated: December 11, 2020

  • Football games can be abandoned after special conditions
  • Like not enough players remaining in a team
  • But thick fog, mass brawls and drones can also disrupt the games

This week the Paris Saint-Germain vs Istanbul Basaksheir Champions League game was abandoned due to an incident between the fourth official and the assistant of the Turkish team. The reason was quite serious here but in other cases we could see more bizarre backgrounds to stop games. These are the weirdest reasons to abandon football games. 

Probably extreme weather conditions, technical issues or inappropriate behavior of the fans would come to our mind as the reasons to stop or abandon a match. But in recent times we could witness some very extreme things happening on or around a football pitch when the referee had no choice than to halt the game. Animals, modern technology and mass brawls were all the reasons for abandoning games, let’s see the most interesting cases.

36 red cards in the weirdest reasons to abandon football games

Footballers are definitely needed for a football game so when all of them are sent off with a red  card, naturally the game can’t be continued. Amazingly that’s exactly what happened in an Argentine fifth-tier derby between Claypole and Victoriano Arenas. A mass brawl erupted between the players but managers, other players and even fans joined them later. The referee, Damian Rubino didn’t see any other option than to give a red card to everyone involved. Resulting with the record of the most red cards during a single game, with 36 red cards.

Angry football club president storming into the pitch

But violent events can happen in Europe too as fans could witness it in a game between Greek sides PAOK and AEK Athens. There is a big rivalry between the two clubs and in 2018.  When the incident happened, they were fighting for the championship title. Their game was a 0-0 draw until the 90th minute when PAOK player Fernando Valera scored a goal. But it was ruled out due to offside which angered PAOK’s president Ivan Savvidis. He entered the pitch along with his bodyguards wearing a gun on his waistband. Apparently he threatened the referee and AEK officials before the game was abandoned. And it’s not the end of the story. As the referee changed his mind and awarded PAOK’s goal two hours after the pitch invasion.

weirdest reasons to abandon football games
That’s weird!

Not enough players in a team to continue the game

As we know, a football team consists of 11 players, at least in normal conditions. But if a team has only six players, a referee had no choice than to abandon the game. This just happened in the Battle of Bramall Lane when Sheffield United hosted West Bromwich Albion in 2002. At that time both teams played in the First Division, which is now the Premiership. WBA were fighting for a 2nd place against Wolverhampton. While Sheffield was only in 15th place but safe from relegation.

They still wanted to win the game, but they lost their goalkeeper in the 9th minute. He got a red card for handling the ball outside the penalty area. WBA were leading 2-0 in the 65th minute when two other Sheffield players were sent off. Both of them recent substitutes. So when two other United players left the field due to injuries, only six players remained in the team.  The referee abandoned the game which was won by WBA at the end. Both sides play this season in the Premier League. But they are likely to face relegation according to the prediction of online gambling sites in the UK.

Cornish fog

Staying in the foggy Albion, a non-league match between St Austell and Bodmin Town was abandoned just after 58 seconds. The referee made the decision to go ahead with the game in spite of the thick fog which made visibility almost zero. But soon he realized it’s not going to work and stopped the game. Of course, bad weather conditions can happen, but usually matches are cancelled before and not after the start of the games. The referee, Neil Hunnisett said that he wanted to see if the fog would clear. But he knew he made the wrong decision when it took 58 second for him to see that the linesman put his flag up.

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Drone visits

One of the weirdest reasons to abandon football games is the appearance of a drone. Actually it happened more than once that a drone flew over a football field interrupting the game.For example during the League 2 game between Yeovil Town and Crawley in 2018, when a drone appeared above the field in the 81st minute. The referee stopped the game and ordered the players to leave the field as a measure of safety. At the end the game continued after an 11-minute delay and ended with a 2-1 defeat of the home team. Ironically Crawley scored the winning goal in the stoppage time.

weirdest reasons to abandon football games
Would you leave?

One of the teams not turning up

You need not only 11 players but two teams of them to play a football game. But the teams of Estonia and Scotland couldn’t meet this simple criterion at their World Cup qualifying match in 1996. As the hosts, Estonia just didn’t turn up on the game after citing a TV contract and issues to get to the ground.  The reasons for their boycott started the day before, when the Scottish team complained to lights during their training. So FIFA brought the game  forward to from the original 6.45pm kick-off. 

After the guests started the game the referee called it off after 3 seconds. Eventually they replayed the game in a neutral field and ended it with a 0-0 draw. Scotland will be playing in next year’s Euro2020, but online sportsbooks in the UK only offer the odds of 17.00 to win their group.

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