A Russian Premier League match was suspended Saturday after a player was injured by firecrackers thrown onto the pitch by fans.
Dynamo Moscow goalkeeper Anton Shunin was hospitalized with burns to his cornea after an explosive device was allegedly thrown onto the field by a fan of Zenit St. Petersburg. The Press Association notes that Shunin reported problems with both his vision and hearing after the device exploded in his face.
According to news outlet RT, police are searching for a female Zenit fan who allegedly hid the firecrackers in her body and smuggled them into the stadium. In addition to video showing a woman throwing the device, an unnamed law enforcement official said that dozens of condoms were found in the ladies' room and are often used to stow flares inside the vagina or anus.
If caught, the fan could be charged with hooliganism, which carries a fine of about $9,500 to $15,800, community service of up to two years or a jail term of up to five years.
Unfortunately, the incident is just the latest in a slew of horrifying fan acts involving firecrackers, and the second in as many weeks possibly involving Zenit fans. Last week, fans threw explosives near a goalkeeper in an Argentine soccer match just a couple days after Zenit fans set fire to an opponent's stadium after a win.
In the days since the incident at the Russian Premier League game, both clubs have released statements meant to point the finger at the other in order to garner a favorable ruling for the outcome of the abandoned match. While Dynamo notes the violence was carried out by a fan of its opponent, Zenit points out Dynamo's responsibility as the home team for both selling tickets and screening fans entering the stadium.
"At the moment there is no evidence that the violation was committed by Zenit fans," Zenit's statement reads. "The away team, which under the rules is not responsible for the safety of fans and participants of the match, cannot be sanctioned for it."
Premier League executive director Sergei Cheban stated that the league would have to review the situation to determine the outcome of the match while denouncing the fan's terrifying tactics.
"It's the prerogative of the disciplinary committee and they'll make a decision," he said. "A football pitch isn't a war zone."
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