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‘Shocking and concerning’: PFA chair voices fears on football disorder

Football

  • John Mousinho wants life bans for fans who assault players
  • He says quick action needed to get on top of problem

PA Media

Thu 17 Feb 2022 11.53 GMT

The Professional Footballers’ Association chairman, John Mousinho, believes supporters who assault players must be banned for life and that football needs to realise it has a growing problem with fan disorder.

The Oxford defender says the worrying trend of violence towards players has to be stamped out quickly after a series of recent flashpoints.


A teenager has been charged after three Nottingham Forest players were allegedly assaulted while celebrating a goal during their 4-1 FA Cup win over Leicester, who have said they will ban the pitch invader from their games for life. Rotherham banned two supporters for life this month after a pitch invasion where Harry Pell appeared to be struck as he prepared to take a penalty against Accrington.

“I can’t see a reason for a fan to be allowed back into a football stadium if they come on to the pitch and assault a player,” Mousinho told PA. “It’s a conscious choice. The term has to be large enough for people to decide they are not going to do it.”

Last month, Aston Villa’s Lucas Digne and Matty Cash were struck by a plastic bottle at Everton, who vowed to ban any fan responsible, and Chelsea’s Antonio Rüdiger was hit by missiles thrown from the crowd against Tottenham. Chelsea’s Sam Kerr was booked for pushing a pitch invader in the Women’s Champions League match against Juventus in December.

Aston Villa’s Matty Cash and Lucas Digne after being struck by a bottle at Everton. Photograph: Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC/Getty Images

“There are only so many police and stewards who can be at grounds,” Mousinho said. “Fans have to take some responsibility.” But he also believes security needs to be reviewed. “You have security guards who don’t pat you down properly,” he said. “I’ve been to Premier League grounds where the metal detector has gone off and nobody really cares. That’s a real concern and it’s never really been flagged before because most of the time, if you get a pitch invader, there’s a jovial atmosphere around how many stewards they can evade.


“Now there’s an aspect of violence which is really worrying. Hopefully, it’s an isolated few weeks in an isolated season but it’s something we need to get on top of very quickly.”

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