A chippy gold medal match saw both teams disqualified at the FINA World Men’s Water Polo Development Trophy tournament, giving bronze medal match winner Uruguay the gold.
Uruguay beat Saudi Arabia in the bronze medal match after losing in the semifinals to Iran – that was a rematch of the gold medal final at the last edition of this event back in 2015. Meanwhile Malta beat Saudia Arabia to move on to the final.
That pitted Malta, the host nation, against Iran, the defending champs, for gold. But during that match “tensions started to erupt in and out of the water,” per a FINA press release – ultimately leading FINA to disqualify both teams from contention.
Malta was leading 8-6 in the fourth quarter. FINA says the disqualifications were for “unacceptable behaviour within the field of play.” FINA water polo rules do state that “If more than three members of the same team, including team officials, commit offences sanctioned in accordance with Articles 3, 4 or 5 in the same match, that team shall be sanctioned with disqualification from that match and a minimum suspension from the next match in the tournament to a maximum suspension from taking part in any competition organised by the same body for a period of one (1) year.”
The disqualifications, which FINA termed as an “unfortunate event,” gave the gold medal to Uruguay. Saudi Arabia was bumped up to silver and Austria moved from winning the 5th-place match into the bronze medal spot for a second-straight edition of this event.
Uruguay, home nation of FINA president Julio Maglione, cleaned up in the individual awards as well, with Santiago San Martin earning MVP honors and Alfonso Rodriguez being named best goalkeeper. Peru’s Diego Villar was the tourney’s top scorer.
You can find full tournament results here.