FA release transcript from Ince ban hearing

Blackpool manager Paul Ince
Blackpool manager Paul Ince
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The FA has released a transcript of evidence from a hearing which led to Blackpool manager Paul Ince given a five-game stadium ban.

Ince last week learned he would not be allowed to enter any stadium Blackpool were playing in on a matchday for their next five contests for his actions following their 2-1 win over Bournemouth last month.

The Seasiders boss was sent to the stands after throwing a bottle which hit a female spectator and his irate reaction after the final whistle, which the FA found breached three rules, landed him in hot water.

The Gazette requested more information about the charge last week, which the FA failed to respond to.

But today, football’s governing body has chosen to reveal the referee’s report from the game - which said Ince physically assaulted fourth official Mark Pottage while using a series of expletives, which The Gazette has chosen not to include.

In the report, referee Oliver Langford said: “At the end of the game as we left the field of play as a team of match officials we were confronted by a clearly very irate Mr PaulInce.

“On confronting us Mr Ince asked why he had been sent to the stand. I explained to Mr Ince the reason why he had politely been asked to leave the technical area. It was then a clearly frustrated Mr Ince had said ‘and where’s your busy fourth?’.

“Mark Pottage, the fourth official, was stood behind Mr Ince at the time and said ‘I’m here’.

“Mr Ince then turned around and violently shoved Mr Pottage with two hands in to the chest. Stewards then quickly stepped in and tried to usher Mr Ince to the dressing room area.

“As this occurred Mr Ince, being restrained by stewards and players of Blackpool, was repeatedly shouting in an aggressive manner ‘I’ll knock you out to Mr Pottage”

In an examination during the hearing, Langford added that “Mr Ince’s eyes were bulging” as he squared up to Pottage.

Assistant Alex Rae was also involved in the melee with Pottage, providing his own evidence, noting he had to move to avoid contact with Rae’s forehead.

Giving his own evidence Ince said: “As I turned around, Mr Pottage stepped forward and was ‘fronting me up’ in my face.

“I felt intimidated, so I instinctively pushed him away.

“The push was not aggressive; only enough to move him away from where I was, only in order to avoid a real possibility of a one-to-one confrontation, however, I know I should not have pushed him and I wholeheartedly apologise.”

The FA, though, found all three breaches of the Rule E3 were proven and imposed a five-match stadium ban on Ince as a result.

Blackpool FC contested some of the evidence given, while Ince strongly denied using certain expletives and claimed that he felt intimidated.

Ince pleaded guilty to three counts of violent conduct.

He later described the ban as “very harsh”.

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