Blackpool FC insists its stance “has not changed” after moving to clarify its position over legal action being taken against fans following the well-publicised pitch protest in 2015.
As The Gazette reported on Tuesday, Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston has decided to push ahead with legal action against 10 supporters who were involved in the pitch invasion which resulted in the abandonment of the home fixture against Huddersfield.
In a statement issued on its website, the club assured fans that no new legal action is being taken and stressed it is “imperative” the issue is resolved swiftly.
The statement reads: “The club wishes to make clear that no new legal action has been initiated and that the legal action mentioned within September’s FPG minutes was in reference to ongoing proceedings against no more than 10 individuals.
“The club made a commitment back in July that no new legal actions would be taken on the understanding that there will be no further criminal or illegal behaviour, or obscene abuse, or defamation. The club’s stance has not changed.
“The club believes that the pitch invasion against Huddersfield was organised and led by members of the Tangerine Knights and the pitch invasion happened contrary to discussions that the Tangerine Knights had with the police, whereby they assured the police that no pitch invasion would take place.
“The individuals that entered the field of play refused to leave once they had protested and it is believed they had the specific intention of forcing the match to be abandoned. Had the match not been abandoned, the club would not be compelled to take legal action.”
The club also asserts it was fined heavily following the pitch invasion and were told, if it were to happen again, they would be fined more heavily or even have points deducted or forced to play games behind closed doors.
In the case of the fans who the club are issuing proceedings against, the club says it is “doing its best” to find an acceptable compromise to put the matter behind them.
The club added: “It is imperative that the club resolves this issue swiftly and also receives assurances that no further criminal acts will take place.
“The club is pleased to see an acknowledgement from Blackpool Supporters’ Trust (BST), following its previous requests, that supporters should not commit criminal acts.
“The club now challenges BST to take positive action and stem the criminal activity that has continued as recently as August 2016, when a vehicle was attacked outside Morecambe’s ground with elderly and young occupants inside. The incident also resulted in a female police officer sustaining injury.
“The club calls on BST to expel any members involved in any criminal act.”
A spokesperson for BST said they will issue a response in due course.