A young Raith Rovers fan was left in hospital after being attacked by a group of thugs following the Fife derby against Dunfermline Athletic on Tuesday. The incident has sparked outrage and condemnation from both clubs and the football community.
Victim suffered head injuries
The 18-year-old victim, who has not been named, was set upon by a gang of youths – believed to be Dunfermline supporters – shortly after the final whistle of the match at KDM Group East End Park. He was punched, kicked and stamped on by the attackers, who were captured on a mobile phone video that was circulated on social media.
The footage shows the young man lying on the ground, surrounded by a crowd of people, while several assailants continue to assault him. Some bystanders can be heard shouting and pleading for the violence to stop, while others appear to join in or cheer on the attackers.
The victim was taken to hospital with head injuries and is said to be in a stable condition. His family and friends have expressed their shock and anger over the brutal attack, and thanked those who tried to help him.
Police arrest one suspect, hunt for others
Police Scotland have launched an investigation into the assault and have arrested a 17-year-old male youth in connection with the incident. Inspector Neil McGurk said: “A 17-year-old male youth has been arrested in connection with the assault of an 18-year-old man which happened in Dunfermline around 5.30pm on Tuesday, 2 January, 2024 following the Dunfermline Athletic v Raith Rovers football fixture. Enquiries are ongoing to trace others involved.”
Police have appealed for witnesses and anyone with information or footage of the incident to come forward and contact them on 101, quoting incident number 2688 of 2 January, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Clubs condemn violence, offer support
Both Dunfermline Athletic and Raith Rovers have issued statements condemning the violence and offering their support to the injured fan. The clubs have also vowed to cooperate with the police and to ban any supporters found to have taken part in the attack from their stadiums.
A spokesperson for Raith Rovers said: “We are aware of an incident involving one of our supporters being assaulted after today’s match. We have contacted the supporter to check on their well-being and to see how we can provide support in any way possible. The incident has been reported to the police and we will work with Dunfermline Athletic to identify the offenders.”
A spokesperson for Dunfermline Athletic said: “We are aware of a video circulating on social media last night. The club condemns all forms of violence in the strongest possible way and we will support the authorities in identifying any individuals involved. We will work with Raith Rovers to ensure that the supporter involved receives the support they need. Any supporter found to have taken part in this horrible act will be banned from KDM Group East End Park.”
Footballers and fans show solidarity
The shocking incident has also drawn support and sympathy for the victim from footballers and fans across the country. Raith Rovers goalkeeper Kevin Dąbrowski was among the first to voice his concern, writing on Twitter: “This is not what football is about, people like this ruin what football truly means. This boy is normally the supporter but he is the one who needs support from Raith and everyone.”
Dunfermline midfielder Chris Hamilton also expressed his disappointment, saying: “Not what our club’s about, disappointing to see. Hope the boy is okay.” Many other players and supporters from various clubs have also sent their messages of solidarity and wished the victim a speedy recovery.
The incident has also raised questions about the security and safety of fans at football matches, and the need to prevent and deter such acts of violence in the future.