Bristol Rovers fan, 16, banned from matches after assaulting Scunthorpe United player
‘On another day though, a minority of fans – albeit a significant minority – could have cost the team promotion’
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A 16-year-old football supporter has been banned from attending matches after assaulting a Scunthorpe United player toward the end of the final game of the season.
Dozens of supporters ran on to the pitch at the Memorial Stadium when Elliot Anderson scored Rovers’ seventh goal in a victory which resulted in promotion to League One.
During the commotion, Scunthorpe goalkeeper Owen Foster indicated to the referee that he had been attacked by a supporter who came on the pitch.
Today, Avon and Somerset Police said a boy, 16, has admitted assaulting a Scunthorpe United player - BristolWorld understands to be the goalkeeper - who the force say was pushed.
The boy has been given a caution and banned from attending football matches for a fixed period of 16 weeks which will start in time for the new season.
Avon and Somerset Police’s football unit worked alongside the football club, the FA and the EFL in dealing with the matter.
The pitch invasion following Rovers’ seventh goal resulted in the match being delayed by 15 minutes as order was restored, while Joey Barton and owner Wael al Qadi appealed to the fans to remain in the stands.
Inspector Mark Nicholson 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.
“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.”
After a spate of pitch invasions and fan disorder at end-of-season matches, the English Football League are considering partial stadium closures.
Fans entered the field of play following the conclusion of play at Nottingham Forest’s win over Sheffield United as well as Port Vale’s victory against Swindon Town, where unsavoury events occured.
The EFL in response 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.”