A football fan ‘carrying a knife’ was arrested by police after running onto the pitch during the World Cup qualifier between Israel and Spain last night, it’s been claimed. Local media reports claim the fan – one of six pitch-invaders held at the end of the match – made a beeline for Real Madrid star Isco but ‘dropped the blade shortly before being apprehended’.
The Israel FA and police in Jerusalem have – contrary to a multitude of media reports such as the one in The Times of Israel – flatly denied that the invader was carrying a knife.
Those media outlets appear to be standing by their story today however – and Spanish media is questioning whether the denial is because the pitch-invader was a teenager or that Israel fears UEFA sanctions for the incident.
Spanish sports news website Marca quoted a security source as saying: “The [perpetrator] who had hidden a small knife is a minor of Jerusalem.”
And media outlets in Israel are quoting a member of the stadium’s security team as saying: “We immediately understood that he had a knife in his pocket.”
But the Israel FA’s Shlomi Barzel is quoted today as saying: “According to all the information we have, there is no evidence or indication that someone was carrying a knife among those who jumped onto the field.
“We will file a lawsuit against the six fans who will face the consequences of their totally objectionable actions in a stadium, but I repeat I do not know where they have obtained information about the alleged knife.
“I do not think Spain was received in a stadium outside their country with as much affection as here, especially Isco who received shouts and banners in favor, you and all those who were in the field.”
Police spokesman Mike Rosenfeld insisted that members of the Spanish team were in no danger at any point during the match.
The game ended Israel’s bid to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia – when they lost 1-0 to Spain.