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EFL welcomes sanctions imposed by Avon and Somerset Police over fan misconduct

Fans invaded the pitch at Bristol Rovers’ final League Two match of the season against Scunthorpe (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Fans invaded the pitch at Bristol Rovers’ final League Two match of the season against Scunthorpe (Bradley Collyer/PA)

The EFL has welcomed sanctions imposed by Avon and Somerset Police over fan misconduct at matches, including a ban for a 16-year-old boy who admitted assaulting a Scunthorpe player during a pitch invasion at Bristol Rovers earlier this month.

The force confirmed five men had been fined and handed banning orders of between three and five years for offences committed at games this season, while also revealing a boy had been cautioned and given a fixed-period ban from attending matches over the pitch invasion on May 7.

The announcement comes less than a week after a Nottingham Forest fan was jailed for 24 weeks for assaulting Sheffield United forward Billy Sharp during the Championship play-off semi-final second leg at the City Ground.

The EFL’s security and operations advisor Bob Eastwood said: “Violence and disorder have no place in our game and the EFL is pleased to see these individuals brought to justice through definitive action.

“It is vital to demonstrate that there are consequences for criminal behaviour at football so we are grateful to Avon and Somerset Police for prioritising their investigations which we have been happy to assist.”

Mark Nicholson, an inspector with the Avon and Somerset force, said: “There have been several incidents in recent weeks up and down the country of football fans running onto pitches and being violent towards players. Rightly, that has been condemned across the football community.

“We appreciate football is a passionate game and Bristol Rovers fans wanted to celebrate a 7-0 victory that would clinch promotion.

Patrick Vieira was involved in an altercation with a pitch invader last week
Patrick Vieira was involved in an altercation with a pitch invader last week (Peter Byrne/PA)

“On another day though, a minority of fans – albeit a significant minority – could have cost the team promotion by running onto the pitch because the referee gave serious consideration to abandoning the match.

“It’s important fans of all football clubs understand their actions have consequences; violence and endangering public safety is not acceptable. Several fans supporting clubs across the South West will miss out on attending games next season and for years to come because of their irresponsible actions.”

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira was involved in an on-field altercation with a pitch invader at the end of his side’s Premier League match at Everton.

Merseyside Police said there would be no further action over an altercation on the pitch they had been investigating.

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