Fighting and flag-burning broke out at Brighton and Sussex Varsity on Sunday (March 19) with matches cancelled after a number of people were injured and a naked spectator ran across the pitch.
One Brighton student tweeted: “Why has Brighton and Sussex Varsity ended in a full on riot, burning of uni flags, flares and a streaker?”
Police were called as initial tensions became increasingly violent.
Spectators described how Sussex students threw bottles at Brighton fans making their way to the venue. Brighton fans burned Sussex banners as Sussex students chanted insults which escalated into Brighton fans (who were not seated behind barriers) storming the pitch.
Sussex student Daniel Green, who witnessed the event, said: “I have studied at Sussex for four years and have never seen the rivalry escalate to such an extent.”
A statement from Sussex students’ union said that misogynistic, homophobic and racist language were also among the examples of dangerous behaviour which took place. The union, along with the vice-chancellors of both universities condemned the actions.
Daniel Green added: “I am angry and disappointed that a day that was meant to be enjoyable has been ruined by a bunch of hooligans.”
Vice-chancellors Adam Tickell (University of Sussex) and Debra Humphris (University of Brighton) said: “The scenes witnessed today at the annual Varsity sports day were shocking and disgraceful.
“We unreservedly condemn the behaviour.”
Police are examining CCTV of the incident and want to speak to anyone who was injured, witnessed the fighting or has any information. Report online quoting serial 832 of 19/03 or call 101.