FA change impacting Everton and Liverpool fans after pitch invasion issues

Everton and Liverpool fans could be impacted by new FA sanctions

The FA could resort to strict measures in a bid to curb violence stemming from pitch invasions.

The end of the season just gone saw a number of concerning incidents following pitch invasions at a number of clubs.

The vast majority of fans have used pitch invasions for nothing more than celebrating their team’s success, surging to the playing surface out of sheer joy.

But the minority appear to have spoiled the trend, with ugly incidents becoming all too common this season.

Sheffield United star Billy Sharp was headbutted by a Nottingham Forest fan after a playoff semi-final, while Patrick Vieira had an altercation with an Everton fan after celebrations at Goodison Park.

There were further incidents at Manchester City and Port Vale, and it’s a trend that has the governing body rather concerned.

So much so that stricter sanctions are going to be brought in to make sure there are no - or at least far less - instances of violence.

FA chair Debbie Hewitt has spoken on the issue, admitting: “It’s a worrying and ugly trend. The pitch is sacred and players, match officials and coaches have to be able to play in a safe environment.

“If you look at some of the footage that happened at the end of last season, it was disturbing and anything but safe for those players and indeed for some of those fans that invaded the pitch.

“It’s a huge concern and we are working with the FA to put in place the toughest possible sanctions that we can.

Vieira was caught up in Everton’s pitch invasionVieira was caught up in Everton’s pitch invasion
Vieira was caught up in Everton’s pitch invasion

“I think the thing that pleased me when we started to have the debate, when we first saw this trend appearing (the assumption was) ‘oh the clubs won’t want (sanctions), the clubs will reject it’, and actually, anything but.

“I was at a session with all of the Premier League clubs a week or so ago and every club in that room was (saying) ‘we have to put in place tougher sanctions’. There was absolutely no resistance, (there was) complete and utter alignment on what we need to do.

“We plan – probably the week before the new season starts – to make a statement on that.”

Hewitt was also asked about stadium closures, to which she replied: “I’d like the strongest possible sanctions that we can have, so I think that says enough about what we’ll be bringing in.”