Doncaster Rovers and Leeds United are likely to find themselves in trouble with the football authorities after fighting broke out in the tunnel at the end of Saturday’s derby at Elland Road.
Players from both sides were fortunate not to join those already booked by referee Keith Stroud as tempers became frayed in the closing stages of a game won 3-2 by Leeds courtesy of a stoppage-time strike by Luciano Becchio.
There was clearly some ill-feeling between Pascal Chimbonda and Leeds United striker Ross McCormack during the long delay whilst Tommy Spurr (Rovers) and Robbie Rogers were being treated following a clash of heads at the end of normal time.
The Scottish international was also reported to have had a spat with El Hadji Diouf at the end of the game when players from the two teams shook hands,
But there was no indication that it was all going to kick-off in the way it did.
Most of the players were in the tunnel on the way to their dressing rooms when Leeds defender Alex Bruce, presumably having realised what was going on, was seen to sprint in to it.
With the red tunnel showing considerable movement from side to side, stewards and four or five police officers all raced inside.
An indication that the incident was far more serious than just a heated discussion or ‘handbags’ came when another group of officers appeared on the pitch running towards the tunnel at least 30 seconds after the first.
The media who had travelled up from South Yorkshire waited for well over an hour to speak to Rovers’ manager Dean Saunders before being told by the club’s media manager Steve Uttley that neither the Welshman, nor any of his staff or players would be attending the traditional post-match press conference, even though caretaker Leeds boss Neil Redfearn had done so.
There was some disappointment among the media that they were not offered the chance to discuss the game with Saunders with the proviso that post-match events weren’t raised.
Details of what happened in the tunnel, such as what sparked it off and how many players were involved and how long the incident lasted, have been hard to come by.
But The Star understands that the fracas, which one report claimed was started by a Leeds defender, was of a serious nature.
The West Yorkshire Police are known to have spoken to the teams in their dressing rooms. It is not known whether they charged any players, but it is unusual for players to want to press charges against fellow professionals.
It is the second successive game involving Doncaster where there have been allegations of trouble in the tunnel.
El Hadji Diouf was accused of spitting at keeper Matt Gilks by a Blackpool player at the end of the first half in Tuesday’s home game.
Diouf denied the claim and Blackpool didn’t want to take the matter any further.