FA ask Aston Villa to explain cup pitch invasion

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The Independent Online
The Football Association have asked Aston Villa to give their version of the crowd-control failure that marred their Coca-Cola Cup semi- final win over Arsenal.

Villa are to investigate Wednesday's incident, with their chairman, Doug Ellis, threatening to ban those who misbehaved from the final. "We will be examining the video footage to try to identify people on the pitch and any person identified will be disciplined, including steps to prevent them from attending the final," he said.

Home fans spilled on to the pitch in the aftermath of the victory, with Arsenal supporters following suit. Although no one was hurt, players were jostled as they left the pitch, and police and stewards had to keep rival fans apart.

In a statement, the FA said: "The evidence so far suggests that it was predominantly a celebration of victory, but fans going on to the pitch is clearly not something we want to see."

The incident raised fears over crowd-control measures at this summer's European Championship finals, as Villa Park will be the venue for five matches, including Scotland's games with Switzerland and the Netherlands, and a quarter-final.

Brighton's future as a Football League club is back in the balance after East Sussex County Council recommended rejection of their plans for a pounds 32m stadium. The struggling Second Division side have sold the Goldstone Ground and want to move to a new site two miles away at Toads' Hole Valley.

Chartwell, the new owners, have said they will let Brighton stay at the Goldstone for another season - if they get permission to turn future use of the 94-year-old ground from warehouses into a giant food hall. However, that plan also got the thumbs down, leaving Brighton, who are pounds 6m in debt - once again battling for survival. A final decision on both applications now rests with Hove Council.

n Mick McCarthy, the Republic of Ireland manager, has reached a compromise with the Irish FA whereby he is joined by his former assistant at Millwall, Ian Evans, but only on a part-time basis.

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