The punishment EFL clubs could face for pitch invasions - following incidents at Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield Town and Northampton Town games

Partial stadium closures could be considered in the EFL next season in an attempt to crack down on pitch invasions.

Thursday, 19th May 2022, 9:37 am

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It comes after a 31-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday night after Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp appeared to be headbutted at the end of the Championship play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

Huddersfield Town fans also invaded the pitch after their semi-final victory against Luton Town, with it being reported that an 85-year-old visiting fan was hit by a coin.

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Hatters boss Nathan Jones described the scenes as an “absolute disgrace”.

Last night, Mansfield Town’s Jordan Bowery was also shoved by a supporter during Northampton Town’s loss in the League Two play-off semi-final.

Prior to the latest incident, the EFL had already released a statement condemning the pitch invasions and said it would look at strengthening its deterrents against supporter misbehaviour.

“Unfortunately, at recent end-of season and play-off semi-final fixtures we have witnessed a number of unsavoury and unacceptable incidents take place with supporters entering the field of play,” the EFL said.

Supporters invaded the pitch at the City Ground after Tuesday night's play-off semi-final

"These are currently under investigation by the relevant authorities and the EFL condemns in the strongest possible terms the reckless actions of individuals who have brought the game into disrepute with this unacceptable behaviour.

"The league is working closely with the police and clubs, offering its full support to the ongoing investigations.

"Supporters are reminded that it is against the law to enter the pitch at any time and could result in a club ban and criminal record.

"More importantly it puts the safety of players, coaches, managers and match officials at risk.

"It is vital that those playing the game can do so safe in the knowledge that they will not be subjected to violent, threatening or anti-social behaviour going forward.

“Many people have already lost the privilege of watching their team via club bans this season and further punitive action will follow for those who continue to disregard ground regulations and break the law at football matches.

“We recognise that this lawlessness is being conducted by a small minority of individuals and that the majority of people attending matches are a credit to their club.

"However, it is not acceptable for supporters to enter the field of play at any time given the EFL’s objective is to ensure our matches remain a safe and welcoming one for all.

"Therefore, over the summer we will consider what further measures are now at our disposal, including the potential use of capacity reductions or other similar mitigations.”

Meanwhile, the use of flares and smoke bombs by supporters was also condemned as the statement continued: “Fans are also advised that the use of pyrotechnic devices inside a football stadium is a criminal offence that will potentially lead to police action, prosecution, and a ban from football.

“Pyrotechnics and flares can burn at up to 2,500°C and can cause significant injuries to carriers and fellow spectators.

"We have also seen many incidents that have resulted in people experiencing burns, breathing difficulties, distress, and discomfort.

“Whilst the issue of pitch incursions and the use of pyrotechnic devices are primarily matters that fall within the remit of the police and FA, the EFL continues to work closely and collaboratively with all the relevant parties to address the broader issue of anti-social behaviour.”