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English leagues goes tough on pitch invasion

Soccer Football – Premier League – Everton v Crystal Palace – Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain – May 19, 2022, Everton fans invade the pitch after the match as they celebrate avoiding relegation from the Premier League. Photo: Reuters

England’s Premier League and Football League have announced new tough sanctions for pitch invasions and the use of smoke bombs and pyrotechnics.

Reuters reports that last season saw an increasing number of pitch invasions at the end of the season with fans celebrating titles, promotions or survival.

Several altercations took place on the field, including one involving Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira, while Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp was attacked by a fan following a playoff defeat at Nottingham Forest.

Smoke bombs and pyrotechnics, which have long been used at games in continental Europe and elsewhere in the world, used to be relatively rare in England but their use has become a more regular occurrence.

The leagues and Football Association says, from next season “all identified offenders will be reported by clubs to the police and prosecution could result in a permanent criminal record, which may affect their employment and education, and could result in a prison sentence.”

“Furthermore, anyone who enters the pitch and those identified carrying or using pyrotechnics or smoke bombs will now receive an automatic club ban. These bans could also be extended to accompanying parents or guardians of children who take part in these activities,” the statement said.

The leagues said they were working with the police and Crown Prosecution Service to ensure prosecution “will become the default response”.

Writing by Muzha Kucha