The business end of the football season always guarantees both jubilation and misery for various different clubs as promotions and relegations are confirmed. That inevitably ends in fans invading the pitch to celebrate their club's achievements alongside players, but the age-old tradition was taken too far over the last week.
Most recently, Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira was involved in an altercation with an Everton fan who invaded the pitch after his side's 3-2 win over the Eagles on Thursday afternoon.
Patrick Vieira retaliates after being accosted by an Everton fan on the pitch after the game pic.twitter.com/g0HuTlpf7z
— James Nalton (@JDNalton) May 19, 2022
On top of that, a Nottingham Forest fan was recently jailed for 24 weeks after running onto the pitch and headbutting Sheffield United's Billy Sharp, resulting in the player needing stitches. With further chances for pitch invasions this week with play-off matches taking place and the final day of the Premier League approaching, Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe believes it needs to be addressed before tragedy strikes. Howe's side travel to Turf Moor on Sunday afternoon for their final Premier League fixture, and the Clarets could secure their top-flight status with a win. "I don't mind the celebrational aspect - embracing the success that a team has had is part of football, I've got no issue with that," said Howe.
"It's the aggression towards the opposition, it's swarms of people around one or two people. That doesn't sit well with me at all, that's something we have to act very quickly (on) because we want to avert potential tragedy. "The scenes at Nottingham Forest, I thought, were shocking to see and at Everton as well. I think we're going into dangerous territory where something could happen in a game that has terrible consequences, and I don't think anyone would want to see that." The FA have confirmed that an investigation is ongoing regarding Vieira's incident at Goodison Park, while Merseyside Police have stated they are "working with Everton FC to gather all available CCTV footage and are speaking to witnesses." The Premier League, the EFL and clubs themselves are receiving advice from the Crown Prosecution Service on how to build the strongest cases possible against any individuals that attack players on the pitch.
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