Pitch invaders to get automatic club bans under new Premier League and EFL rules

Pitch invaders in Premier League and EFL matches will receive ‘automatic club bans’ next season under new measures.

There were growing concerns at the end of last season after several pitch invasions occurred during and after games up and down the country. But the Football Association (FA), Premier League and EFL have now set out new measures to prosecute those breaking the law through pitch invasions, the use of pyrotechnics and smoke bombs.

They will use sniffer dogs and impose harsher punishments on clubs unable to get a grip on the situation, with clubs themselves agreeing new measures to deal with pitch invasions last month.

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FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said: "The rise in anti-social behaviour that we saw in stadiums at the end of last season was entirely unacceptable and put people's safety at risk.

"Together, English football has introduced new measures and stronger sanctions, for the start of the coming season, to send out a clear message that we will not tolerate this type of illegal and dangerous behaviour.

"It is the responsibility of everyone in the game, including governing bodies, clubs, players, coaches, and fans, to ensure that we all play our part in protecting our game and each other."

It comes after Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp was headbutted by a rival fan in their playoff semi-final clash with Nottingham Forest, while Aston Villa goalkeeper Robin Olsen was assaulted during Manchester City’s title win celebrations on the final day of the season.

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira was also embroiled in a clash with an Everton fan in May as a 3-2 Toffees win saw countless supporters take to the pitch in wild scenes.

Do you agree with stricter measures and punishments being introduced against pitch-invaders? Let us know in the comments section.

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters' Association, added: "We are contacted by supporters on a fairly regular basis who have been caught jumping on the pitch, or with pyro in the stands, and without exception they regret doing it.

"Whether they had positive intentions or not is irrelevant in the eyes of the law – pyro and pitch incursions are illegal, you will be prosecuted and you will be banned by your club."


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