West Ham vow to give lifetime bans to pitch invaders

Emergency meeting with the Safety Advisory Group at London Stadium on Thursday

Burnley’s Ashley Barnes trips up a pitch invader at The London Stadium last weekend. Photograph: Getty Images

Burnley’s Ashley Barnes trips up a pitch invader at The London Stadium last weekend. Photograph: Getty Images

 

West Ham have vowed to issue life bans to the fans who invaded the pitch during Saturday’s 3-0 defeat by Burnley.

The Premier League match at the London Stadium was marred by four separate pitch invasions as well as protests against the club’s board as hundreds of supporters congregated beneath the directors’ box.

Joint-owners David Gold and David Sullivan were advised to leave their seats for their own safety, with the latter having been struck on his glasses by a coin.

A West Ham statement read: “The club is working in close conjunction with the Metropolitan Police to identify those individuals who entered the pitch during the second half and . . . to identify those who threw missiles.

“Any individual found guilty will be banned from attending any West Ham United fixture, home and away, for life and the club will request the courts serve a banning order to prevent these individuals attending any football matches in the future.”

Many West Ham fans are unhappy with how the move to the former Olympic Stadium has turned out and the subsequent lack of investment in the playing squad.

Captain Mark Noble wrestled the first pitch invader to the ground, defender James Collins ushered another two away and Burnley forward Ashley Barnes tripped over a fourth.

The fifth fan to enter the pitch attempted to plant a corner flag in the centre circle in a scene reminiscent of a fans’ protest against the controversial Bond Scheme proposed by a previous West Ham board in 1992.

West Ham will hold an emergency meeting with the core Safety Advisory Group at London Stadium on Thursday.

They will be joined by representatives from stadium operators LS185, certifying authority Newham Council, the Sports Ground Safety Authority, the Metropolitan Police, stadium owners E20 and the London Legacy Development Corporation.

The club is desperate to prevent any more crowd trouble, not least because the team were clearly affected by Saturday’s events and are in grave danger of relegation with a crucial clash against fellow strugglers Southampton next up on March 31st.

The statement continued: “With eight Premier League matches still to play, achieving the points we need has to be the focus.

“The best chance of reaching that goal is for everyone to be united behind the team when we play Southampton on March 31st and for the remainder of the season.”

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