Police arrest three Emirati men in connection with attack on Baniyas goalkeeper after he intervened in an argument between two men at Mirdif cinema.
Footballer stabbed in cinema dispute
DUBAI //Assailants armed with knives attacked a professional footballer after he intervened in an argument between two men in a cinema.
Mohammad Ali Ghuloom, the Baniyas goalkeeper, said up to 20 young men pounced on him as he left the cinema in Mirdif City Centre.
He said he suffered injuries to a hand, his stomach and head, including a scalp wound that required eight stitches.
The attack on the Baniyas player is another blow for the club after the death of the winger Theyab Awana in a car accident in September.
Three Emirati men have been arrested on suspicion of attacking Mr Ghuloom and another man.
Police said an argument began between a man from an unnamed Arab country and an Emirati man on Thursday night over seating in the cinema.
Ghuloom intervened to solve the dispute but police said this angered the Emirati man, identified as S?H.
Police said S?H then called up two friends, M?H and A?A, both Emiratis, and waited for Ghuloom and the Arab man at the entrance of the mall.
When the film finished and the two men emerged, S?H, M?H and A?A attacked them with knives, police said.
However, Ghuloom, speaking to Dubai Sport TV, said the number of attackers was far larger and was between 15 to 20 young men.
A spokesman for Baniyas club, Musaad Al Harthi, said: “This is the last thing we need after suffering [ Theyab Awana’s death] earlier this year.
“He [Ghuloom] has been injured and the club believes he will miss 10 days, maybe two weeks, of football because of this.”
Theyab Awana, 21, died in September after the vehicle he was driving collided with a lorry. Awana was best remembered for scoring a back-heeled penalty in the UAE’s 6-2 friendly win against Lebanon in July, which became a sensation on YouTube.
Maj Gen Khamis Al Mazeina, the deputy police chief, said any youth caught with a sword or a knife would immediately be detained.
“The parents will be called in and will be requested to sign an undertaking that the offence will not be repeated,” he said.
“The parents of any youth caught repeating the offence will be charged with negligence and will be referred to court.”
In March last year, Dubai police stepped up their measures against those carrying knives and swords in the light of the death of Ali Mohammed Hassan, 13, who was stabbed to death by a group of teenagers outside his home in Al Rashidiya.
* With additional reporting by Neil Cameron