Aston Villa pitch invasion: West Midlands Police have made 17 arrests relating to Aston Villa vs West Brom FA Cup tie

2-0 win for Aston Villa overshadowed

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The Independent Football

West Midlands Police have made 17 arrests related to Aston Villa's FA Cup win over West Brom on Saturday night.

Seats were thrown from the Albion section and Villa supporters invaded the pitch twice as Tim Sherwood's men beat the Baggies 2-0 on Saturday to reach the semi finals.

The Football Association is poised to start its own investigation into the problems which marred Villa's win, which the police will support.

And the police have also launched their own probe into a pre-match disturbance at the Witton Arms, close to Villa Park.

"We carried out a large policing operation for the FA Cup yesterday evening (March 7) to ensure supporters could enjoy the game in a safe environment," Chief Superintendent Chris Johnson from West Midlands Police said in a statement.

"During the course of the operation 17 men were arrested for various public order offences. An investigation has been launched to identify people involved in a disturbance before the match at the Witton Arms pub.

"Anyone who saw what happened should contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

"We will also be supporting the Football Association to identify people involved in pitch invasions that happened at the end of the match."

Among the arrests were eight people detained on suspicion of public-order offences, four on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly and two on suspicion of breach of the peace, police said.

Villa fans invaded the pitch before the end of the game and then again at the final whistle while seats were thrown from the upper tier of the North Stand, where Albion fans were sitting, into the Villa crowd below during the second half.

A spokesperson for the FA told Press Association Sport the investigation into the incidents will begin on Monday.

"There is no progress on last night except the FA knows about it and intends to look into it thoroughly," the spokesperson said.

 

West Brom boss Tony Pulis called the scenes disgraceful while Villa chief Sherwood defended the club's stewards afterwards.

Villa later apologised to West Brom and the FA for their supporters' behaviour in a statement.

"They have let both themselves and their club down," it read.

"The club extends its sincere apologies to the Football Association, the West Bromwich Albion directors, manager Tony Pulis and all his staff and players."

Second-half goals from Fabian Delph and Scott Sinclair won it for Villa while Claudio Yacob and Jack Grealish were sent off as both sides finished with 10 men.

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