QPR ask for help identifying coin-thrower at Arsenal match


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The Independent Football

QPR today appealed to fans to help them identify the spectator who threw a coin at assistant referee Stuart Burt during their Barclays Premier League win over Arsenal.

Burt was struck on the back of his neck by a missile which appeared to come from Loftus Road's Ellerslie Road Stand after he awarded an injury-time free-kick to the Gunners in Saturday's match at Loftus Road.

The Football Association are understood to be aware of the incident and are supporting efforts by QPR and the police to identify and punish the perpetrator, who could face a lifetime ban from the stadium.

Rangers will trawl CCTV footage and interview stewards but have also urged any eye-witnesses to come forward.

They said on their official Twitter feed: "The club is aware of a coin-throwing incident that took place in the latter stages of Saturday's home fixture against Arsenal at Loftus Road.

"The club appeals to any fans who saw the coin-throwing incident to come forward and assist our enquiries.

"If you wish to report the incident confidentially, please report it to Stadium Control by texting 07557435421."

Referee Mike Dean, who is reported to have included the incident in his match report, halted Saturday's game for two minutes and brought his assistant in from the touchline as supporters began pointing to where the coin had come from.

Several missiles were reportedly thrown at Burt but the Metropolitan Police today said they had yet to receive a complaint over the matter.

In February 2009, Aston Villa fan John Billington, who threw a 50p piece at a referee's assistant, got a five-year football banning order and was fined £2,300.

Confirming a lifetime ban would be issued were the perpetrator to be identified, QPR added in a statement on their official website: "The club are now in the process of reviewing CCTV in an effort to identify those people responsible and will take the appropriate action once this process has been completed.

"QPR supporters are reminded that this is a very serious offence and anyone caught throwing an object on to the pitch - towards officials or players - will be issued with an immediate lifetime ban from Loftus Road."

Chief executive Philip Beard added: "Such behaviour is simply not acceptable at Loftus Road, or anywhere else for that matter.

"As a club, we will do everything possible to prevent such incidents happening again.

"The club appeals to any fans who saw the coin-throwing incident to come forward and assist our enquiries."