Seven charged over Blackpool FC protest

Stewards guard the goal as Blackpool fans stage a protest and pitch invasion. Seven people have since been charged by police.
Stewards guard the goal as Blackpool fans stage a protest and pitch invasion. Seven people have since been charged by police.
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Police have charged seven people with public order offences after a fan’s protest saw Blackpool FC’s final game of last season called off.

An investigation was launched into the disturbance after around 150 supporters invaded the pitch at Bloomfield Road shortly after the start of the second half of the match against Huddersfield Town on May 2.

Pitch encroachment is an offence which could result in being arrested and banned from matches.

Det Insp Jason Richardson

Following the peaceful protest, aimed at the club’s chairman Karl Oyston and his father and club director Owen, a small number of fans made their way towards the directors’ box.

Following another pitch invasion during a friendly match at Lancaster City, police have warned anyone who steps onto the turf this season faces being banned from matches.

Police today announced seven people, aged 16 to 46, have been charged following their investigation into the drama on the last day of the season.

Det Insp Jason Richardson, of Blackpool Police, said: “Ahead of the first home game of the new season, I would also like to take this opportunity to remind all Blackpool FC spectators that safety has been and remains a key priority for everyone involved in the game and disorderly behaviour of any type will not be tolerated.

“Pitch encroachment is an offence which could result in being arrested and banned from matches and we hope that all supporters will enjoy this season’s fixtures safely and responsibly.”

The match against Huddersfield was halted after 48 minutes with the score at 0-0 and later abandoned amid fears for players’ safety.

Both sides were awarded a point after it was decided a replay was not needed.

The Football Association fined the Seasiders £50,000 over the incident and warned the club it would have to play a match behind closed doors if there is another pitch invasion in the next 12 months.

The Football League has imposed a three-point suspension, suspended for two seasons.

The seven people charged with a section four public order offence are:

* Richard Eccles, 46, of Clifton Drive South, St Annes

* Jay Foray, 34, of Westmorland Avenue, Blackpool

* Christian Rivas, 31, of Ascot Road, Layton

* Robert Jones, 34, of Park Road, Blackpool

* Neil Holden, 40, of Marton Drive, South Shore

* Mark Rushton, 24, of Riversway, Layton

* A 16-year-old boy from Blackpool