1. ITV Report

Mass brawl results in 36 red cards in one Paraguayan junior league football match

A mass on-pitch brawl during a junior league football match in Paraguay resulted in 36 players, including both teams and substitutes, being sent off.

In the last five minutes of the game on Sunday, referee Nestor Guillen handed out two red cards, one to a player from each team, but the pair ignored him and continued their fight on the field.

In a matter of seconds the clash spun out of control, involving players from both teams and all substitutes.

"Many of the players that were on the field and on the substitutes' bench, everyone went on to the field to try to control their team mates and even the players from the other team," said Hernan Martinez, president of the home club, Teniente Farina.

Rather than trying to end the brawl, the match officials ran off the field in fear.

One team's manager criticised the referees for not protecting the safety of the young players. Credit: Reuters

For this reason, Martinez believes they had no other recourse but to dismiss all 36 players since they did not stay to identify culprits.

"The referees didn't even stay on the field. As soon as the fighting broke out they went to the dressing room," he said.

"They ran through the tunnel to their dressing room. They weren't able to see anything that happened. But, in the report, to more or less wash their hands of the responsibility, they expelled all 36 players," said Martinez.

Visiting Libertad club president Sixto Nunez said he thought the referees had shirked their duties in fleeing the scene.

"The referee needed to take better care of the boys. He should have made sure that the two dismissed players were completely off the field," Nunez said.

"Instead, the officials left the field and when the players were all leaving together that's when the fighting started again."

The players, who were all automatically suspended, await sanctions from the league's disciplinary committee.