EFL threaten clubs with stadium capacity reductions over pitch invasions

A man has been arrested on suspicion of assault after Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp appeared to be attacked at the City Ground

Pa Sport Staff
Wednesday 18 May 2022 15:06
Comments
Clubs could face stronger sanctions for pitch invasions such as the one at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground on Tuesday night from next season (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Clubs could face stronger sanctions for pitch invasions such as the one at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground on Tuesday night from next season (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Restrictions on stadium capacities could be imposed on clubs in the EFL next season as the league seeks to crack down on pitch invasions and other fan disorder.

Nottinghamshire Police arrested a 31-year-old man after Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp was assaulted at the City Ground at the end of the Championship play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

The league joined the players’ union, the Professional Footballers’ Association, and Forest in condemning the incident and warned it will look at strengthening its deterrents against supporter misbehaviour over the summer.

Addressing the pitch invasion at Forest and similar scenes at other play-off and end-of-season fixtures, the EFL said: “We recognise that this lawlessness is being conducted by a small minority of individuals and that the majority of people attending matches are a credit to their club.

“However, it is not acceptable for supporters to enter the field of play at any time given the EFL’s objective is to ensure our matches remain a safe and welcoming one for all.

“Therefore, over the summer we will consider what further measures are now at our disposal, including the potential use of capacity reductions or other similar mitigations.”

It is understood all options will be looked at in the close season, and ordering teams to play matches behind closed doors has not been ruled out.

The EFL statement added: “Supporters are reminded that it is against the law to enter the pitch at any time and could result in a club ban and criminal record.

“More importantly it puts the safety of players, coaches, managers and match officials at risk. It is vital that those playing the game can do so safe in the knowledge that they will not be subjected to violent, threatening or anti-social behaviour going forward.”

The PFA described the Sharp incident as a “senseless assault” and called for matchday security and fan disorder to be reviewed ahead of next season.

“We will be raising player safety with the clubs, leagues and the UK Football Policing Unit,” the union said.

Fan disorder has been on the rise this season, with figures from the UKFPU released earlier this year showing a 36 per cent increase in reported incidents in the first half of the 2021-22 season compared to the same period in 2019-20.

Former Forest player Sharp described his assailant as a “scumbag” in a social media post, but said he would not let what had happened ruin his respect for the club’s supporters.

Forest said they would issue a lifetime ban to the individual found to have attacked Sharp, while since the incident the club’s fans have already contributed more than £2,500 to a JustGiving page to be donated to a charity of Sharp’s choice to show their condemnation for what happened.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in