West Ham issue lifetime bans to five pitch invaders

Premier League fixture against Burnley saw numerous protests against the club’s board

James Collins confronts a pitch invader during West Ham’s defeat to Burnley. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP

James Collins confronts a pitch invader during West Ham’s defeat to Burnley. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP

 

West Ham have issued lifetime bans to five supporters who invaded the pitch during the Premier League match against Burnley on March 10th.

The club said it had taken “swift and decisive action” against individuals who were found to have committed “acts of severe violence and physical aggression”.

The match was marred by a series of pitch invasions and widespread supporter unrest, with club director Trevor Brooking confirming that co-owner David Sullivan was struck by a coin towards the end of the game.

A club statement read: “Lifetime bans from all West Ham matches, both home and away, have today been issued to five individuals who crossed safety barriers to enter the field of play — a criminal offence that is a severe breach of stadium safety regulations — while a number of individuals have also been banned for life for violently throwing coins or objects with intent to injure or harm on the bridge directly in front of the directors’ box.”

The club said that a number of additional incidents were still being investigated in conjunction with stadium operators LS185 and the police, and that they expected to issue further bans ahead of the club’s next home match against Southampton on March 31st.

The statement continued: “West Ham United would like to reiterate that the safety and security of our supporters, players and staff remains our absolute priority at London Stadium.

“We take a zero tolerance approach to any form of violence that endangers the welfare of others, and we are committed to ensuring a safe and comfortable environment for all spectators.”

Brooking, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme the day after the Burnley match, said: “The next five home games look pretty bleak because there is no way the team will be able to play and get the points to stay up under that sort of atmosphere — it’s impossible.

“That atmosphere must never be allowed to come back otherwise the club is in serious trouble. The fans have to understand that and really shelve those frustrations.. and allow the players to get the points to stay up.”

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