Three persons on Sunday in Abakaliki in the Ebonyi capital sustained various degrees of injuries after fans of two English clubs — Chelsea and Manchester City — engaged in a free-for-all.
Reports have it that the free fight followed City’s 3-0 defeat to Chelsea in a week two game of the 2015/2016 English Premier League (EPL).
The fans of the rival clubs had staked about N40, 000, which was expected to be pocketed by the winning side.
Trouble started when a Chelsea fan, who was in possession of the money absconded from the viewing centre where the match was watched.
Chidi Onyejegbu, Manager of the centre who witnessed the incident told newsmen that the fan absconded when it became clear that his team had lost the match.
He explained that he encouraged such betting during matches because it attracted customers to his centre, saying that he received commissions from the deal.
“It was a planned act by the Chelsea fans because they all left the viewing centre unnoticed while the City fans were still busy watching the telecast of the match.
He said that city fans could not immediately claim their bounty as the Chelsea fans had sneaked out of the centre.
Onyejegbu said the fans had relocated to `beer parlour’ at Mgbukobe area of Abakaliki, close to viewing centre.
“A heated argument ensued when they hooked up, leading eventually led to a fight that left two Chelsea and a City fan with injuries,’’ Onyejegbu said.
It took the intervention of some persons at the drinking joint to ensure that City fans got their bounty.
They advised the injured, to seek medical attention at their own expense, pointing out that any involvement of police could escalate the matter.
The Chelsea fan that absconded with the money who spoke on condition of anonymity told reporters that the action was in retaliation of a similar action in the past.
“We won a bet against them when Man City lost to FC Barcelona of Spain in an UEFA Champions League knockout match last season, but they absconded with the money.
“I decided to release this money to them because the mediators explained that it was another set of city fans that absconded with our money on that faithful day,” the source said.
Chris Anyanwu, the Ebonyi Police Public Relations Officer, told newsmen that the police did not receive any official report on such a matter, but that they would investigate the report.
“Such issues are normally settled by the fans; the culprits can only be arrested and investigated if the police had swooped on them during the fight.