You’d like to have thought that a match played on Christmas would have seen footballers make sure to keep their emotions in check. Sadly the Thai players of Nakhon Pathom and Sisaket failed to get that memo.
In images that one can only assume Jesus would have frowned upon, the Christmas day contest turned into a brutal slug-fest following a couple of sendings-off from the match official.
Having initially just managed to keep control of proceedings after dismissing a Sisaket player, the referee then lost order when, in a separate incident, he was cajoled into sending off a Nakhon player under pressure from the visitors.
Clearly feeling the referee has caved in under pressure amid flailing tempers, it wasn’t long before the referee found himself being abused by a shirtless fan who had made his way onto the pitch. Soon, with security staff looking to protect the ref, more Nakhon fans found their way onto the turf as they surrounded the man in black.
And then came the predictable violence as, like a pack of wolves, a gang of supporters began kicking and punching the referee in appalling scenes.
But that was only the start of the controversy.
Amid the fracas, TV cameras incredibly caught one unidentified man on the pitch pulling out a gun during the punch-up. Although the gun wasn’t used, the sight of the firearm on the pitch was truly shocking.
Footage of the violent incident can be seen here.