Police, FA probe after Vieira altercation with fan on field
LIVERPOOL, England (AP):
Police opened an investigation yesterday after Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira was involved in an altercation with a fan during the latest in a series of pitch invasions that have marred the end of the English football season.
The Football Association (FA) said it was “very concerned” about the trend and confirmed it is investigating the Goodison Park incident, as well as others from earlier this week. It called on clubs to step up enforcement.
“Clubs play a vital role in addressing this issue and they need to prevent pitch invasions from occurring, as well as taking their own action against those that break the rules and the law,” the FA said in a statement yesterday.
Vieira kicked out at an Everton supporter who was taunting him on the field after Everton’s 3-2 victory on Thursday.
Merseyside police said that they were “working with Everton FC to gather all available CCTV footage and are speaking to witnesses”.
Police, without naming Vieira, said they are “investigating an altercation on the pitch at Goodison Park following the Everton v Crystal Palace match on Thursday”.
“No formal complaint has been received, and enquiries into the incident are ongoing,” police said.
A Nottingham Forest fan was sentenced to 24 weeks in jail for entering the field and assaulting Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp at the end of a play-off game on Tuesday in the second-tier Championship.
A field invader at Northampton shoved a Mansfield player on Wednesday and, a night later, Swindon manager Ben Garner said some of his players were subjected to physical and verbal abuse at the end of their match at Port Vale. Both games were in the fourth division.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe warned yesterday of a “potential tragedy”.
“It’s the aggression towards the opposition — it’s swarms of people around one or two people. That doesn’t sit well with me at all, that’s something we have to act very quickly (on), because we want to avert potential tragedy,” he said.
The field at Goodison Park was flooded by Everton supporters after their team recovered from 2-0 down at half-time to win 3-2. The victory secured Premier League survival before tomorrow’s final round.
As Vieira tried to leave the field, a supporter seemingly holding up a phone, could be seen extending his arms toward the Frenchman’s face. Vieira then turned and tried to grab the phone before kicking out at him with his right foot. The fan fell to the ground.