Around the world, football pitches have seen some truly memorable moments. Spectacular goals, amazing assists, and crazy talent shows are always remembered but only account for half of these experiences.
It may not be related to the actual football being played, but fans occasionally get to watch something utterly bizarre that they will probably never see again.
We look at the ten strangest things that have ever happened on a football field.
#10 Unexpected company shows up to observe
How frequently has a parachutist disrupted play despite the numerous stray objects that have appeared on pitches throughout history?
According to The Mirror, a 2013 game Salisbury City between Chester had to be called off when a charity parachutist unintentionally landed on the playing surface. The mystery man would go on to pick up his parachute and walk off the field in one of the strangest interruptions in the history of the sport.
#9 Goal denied due to protests from a club owner
We are all aware of how disappointing it may be to see one of your team’s goals disallowed due to offside. According to the Guardian, PAOK Salonika’s president, Ivan Savvidis was enraged as his side faced AEK Athens in a match in March of 2018.
A pistol in Savvidis’ holster on his hip was detected before he could approach the referee. Shortly after the players from AEK fled the field in panic, the entire Super League Greece was suspended.
#8 Grasshopper at the 2014 World Cup
The World Cup is the largest stage in football and appears that certain insects are aware of that.
The BBC reports that a large grasshopper landed on James Rodriguez’s arm during a quarter-final clash between Colombia and Brazil in 2014 as he celebrated scoring a penalty.
#7 Goalie looks at his phone
According to Marca, Atletico Paranaense goalkeeper Aderbar Santos picked up his phone moments before the start of a Brazilian Serie A game in 2018 and took care of what had to be a very serious situation.
The home supporters behind his goal at the Arena do Baixada watched in awe as the goalkeeper used his gadget before throwing it away as the referee blew for the start of the game.
Atletico Paranaense would go on to lose 2-1 to Atletico Mineiro.
#6 Serbia v. Albania gets disturbed by a drone
Fighting broke out between players, supporters, and team officials at the Partizan Stadium in Belgrade in October of 2014, forcing the match to be called off with a scoreless tie.
According to Reuters, the altercation started when a drone hoisted a flag with the insignia of ‘Greater Albania’ which was then followed by pitch invaders from the stands. Stefan Mitrovic, a Serbian defender, successfully intercepted the drone.
In response to the incidents, Uefa mandated that Albania lose the game, and Serbia was awarded a 3-0 default victory. Serbia has also docked three points and told to host two qualifying matches in a venue without spectators, though. Each nation received a EUR 100,000 penalty.
#5 Ghost goal by Bayer Leverkusen
The rules of football are fairly easy to understand. You need to get the ball beyond the goal line and into the goal, which is typically between the goal posts, to score. Stefan Kießling, however, disagrees.
As reported by the Guardian, the German striker headed the ball in from a corner during a Bundesliga match in 2013 between Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen The ball appeared to be in the goal but closer examination revealed that it struck the side netting before making its way into the net.
Even the goal scorer himself was bewildered and tried to point it out to the referee, but the official nevertheless gave the alleged ‘ghost goal’.
#4 A dog comes to the rescue
You would feel very confident about your chances of scoring when a goalkeeper slips up and gives you a clear shot at an undefended goal. Unfortunately, the greatest ‘ruffest’ defense of all time – a dog – was still in play for the Argentine team Juventud Unida.
The Metro claims that the Defensores de Belgrano goalkeeper inadvertently kicked the ball at a Juventud Unida attacker in December of 2018. The striker simply passed toward the open goal but a dog suddenly ran onto the field and deflected the ball away.
#3 Referee loses teeth and was unable to finish the game
According to the Daily Star, Ebeltoft were up 4-3 against Norager this year when something strange occurred when the former launched an offensive.
As play continued, referee Henning Erikstrup moved to sound the final horn. The only issue was that, as he attempted to peek at the whistle, his artificial teeth fell out. As a result, no noise was made and play continued as usual.
By the time Erikstrup located his prosthetic teeth and inserted them back into his mouth, Ebeltoft had scored to tie the game at 4-4. Forager won 4-3 as a result of Norager’s goal being disallowed. Ebeltoft objected to the game, but their objections were rejected.
#2 Unknown cat enters Anfield
It wasn’t out of the ordinary to see one black cat make a special appearance for Liverpool’s Premier League clash against Manchester United in 2016. Anfield had become a location of numerous feline sightings at the time.
The teams were warming up before the 8:00 p.m. kickoff at Anfield when the cat found a way onto the field and ran off under the glare of professional football.
A video of the intruder was tweeted by United’s official Twitter account with the caption:
“Pre-match pitch invasion at Anfield…”
#1 A man in a car attacked a referee
A crazy fan in South Africa rushed the field and attempted to assault the referee with his car during a match in 2021. The safety of the spectators caused the cancellation of the game between Polokwane City Rovers and Luka Ball Controllers.
According to 90min, the referee was attacked by a fan in his BWM, who was upset by the official rulings that had been made against his team in several tournaments. After his team had taken a 1-0 lead in the game, the supporter reportedly became upset when they fell behind at 2-1.