Pool penalised over pitch invasion

The Bloomfield Road pitch invasion
The Bloomfield Road pitch invasion
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Blackpool have been hit with a suspended three-point deduction following the pitch invasion that forced their Sky Bet Championship clash with Huddersfield to be abandoned in May.

Seasiders supporters entered the field of play in the second half of the season-ending fixture with the Terriers in protest at the club’s owners, eventually forcing the game to be called off when they did not move for over an hour.

Last week the Football Association fined the Tangerines £50,000 and decreed they would be made to play a competitive match behind closed doors next season if another game was to be disrupted by fans.

A commission set up by the Football League has now announced its ruling on the matter, handing Blackpool a three-point deduction which is suspended for two seasons.

However, despite an application from the Football League to force Blackpool to compensate Huddersfield supporters following the abandonment, the commission has ruled the club is not required to reimburse travelling Terriers fans.

The Football League declared back in May that the final result of the match would be 0-0, which was the score when the demonstrations started in the 48th minute, and the fixture would not be replayed as Huddersfield were already safe and Blackpool’s relegation into League One had been sealed weeks earlier.

But the Seasiders have now been punished by two separate bodies in the wake of that May 2 fixture and know they face much heavier sanctions if their supporters show their disgruntlement on the pitch once more this term.

Similar scenes forced a pre-season friendly against Lancaster to be called off only last month and the past week’s contest at Morecambe was played behind closed doors amid fears of further protests.

That clash with the Shrimps had initially been postponed and Blackpool issued a strong statement on their website at the time vowing to come down hard on those involved in previous demonstrations.

It read: “For the avoidance of doubt, the club will not stand by and allow the actions of a minority continue to hamper football being played.

“The club will hand out stadium bans to those involved in pitch invasions to date and pursue civil proceedings for damages, as well as further injunctions to include powers of arrest should anybody under the terms of a banning order attempt to enter the stadium.”

The unhappiness at the handling of affairs at Bloomfield Road has not dissipated in recent weeks and Blackpool Supporters Trust are hopeful of entering negotiations with owner Owen Oyston over a £16million leveraged buyout.