Pitch invasion: Police arrest Burnley fan

LONDON: Lancashire police announced yesterday they had arrested the Burnley fan who ran onto the Turf Moor pitch to confront Blackburn’s Robbie Savage during Sunday’s goalless FA Cup fifth round tie between the north-west rivals. 

Savage was not the only player finding himself under assault from fans during last weekend’s matches, with Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll hit by a coin thrown from the stands at Goodison Park during the FA Cup holders’ 2-0 win away to Everton. 

Meanwhile in Scotland, Fernando Ricksen was hit by a cigarette lighter thrown by a Celtic fan at Parkhead as visitors Rangers won the Old Firm derby 2-0. 

At Turf Moor, three people in two separate incidents managed to evade stewards and police before getting on the pitch. 

But police said yesterday a 42-year-old man was currently being held in custody after being arrested for a public order offence, causing fear of, or provoking violence. 

Lancashire police said two other men who invaded the pitch have been charged with pitch encroachment and will appear at Burnley Magistrates’ Court tomorrow. 

Burnley Football Club have already vowed to ban the three men from Turf Moor for life. There were also violent incidents outside the ground and 20 arrests were made in what was a rare derby match between Blackburn (in the Premiership) and Burnley (in the Championship). 

Superintendent Neil Smith, the officer in charge of policing the Burnley game, said that it was never an exact science in preventing such incidents. 

“Unfortunately, it is difficult to prevent people getting on to the pitch – we do rely on a degree of responsibility on behalf of the fans but the police are there to assist the stewards and the club and that is what we did.” 

Merseyside police said they were looking at closed circuit television footage of the match at Goodison where both Carroll and United striker Wayne Rooney, on his first match back at the club since departing for Old Trafford, both had items thrown at them. 

Among the objects recovered on the pitch were a mobile phone and plastic bottles. 

After Saturday’s match in Liverpool, police also had to contend with trouble from both Everton and United fans. Five officers were injured after being attacked with stones and bottles. 

Some have said the late, 1730GMT, kick-off contributed to the crowd problems as it meant fans had more time than usual to fuel up with alcohol before the game got underway. – AFP 

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