FA to investigate crowd trouble during Villa’s FA Cup clash

The FA has confirmed it will conduct an investigation into the crowd trouble during Aston Villa’s 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final win over local rivals West Brom on Saturday.

There were two pitch invasions during the game at Villa Park before fans streamed on to the pitch again at the final whistle and at one point, a section of Albion supporters appeared to be throwing seats.

An FA statement read: “There is no progress on last night except the FA knows about it and intends to look into it thoroughly.”

Villa condemned the actions of the fans in a previous statement that said: “The club does not condone supporters invading the field of play under any circumstances.

“We are very disappointed that what should have been a very memorable and proud moment for our fans was marred by the actions of those who could not control themselves. They have let both themselves and their club down.

“The club extends its sincere apologies to the Football Association, the West Bromwich Albion directors, manager Tony Pulis and all his staff and players.”

West Brom responded with a statement of their own, adding: “West Bromwich Albion note the public apology issued by Aston Villa FC in the wake of the disturbing scenes during and after the FA Cup quarter-final at Villa Park.

“The apology is received in the spirit with which it was intended. The club is also aware of reports of serious misbehaviour involving some of its own supporters.

“It issues an uncompromising reminder today that any supporter found guilty of disorder offences can expect the appropriate sanction from the club. West Bromwich Albion will continue to operate zero tolerance to any fans who bring the club’s reputation into disrepute.

“The club also welcomes the FA investigation into the scenes and how they came about; West Bromwich Albion will co-operate fully.

“Pitch invasions cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. The safety of the club’s players and staff during and at the end of the game was clearly compromised and that has to be a subject of deep concern for everyone involved.”

Villa and England midfielder Fabian Delph, who scored his first goal in a year before Scott Sinclair wrapped up victory late on, admitted the pitch invasion was “scary”.

Tony Pulis later said he would support lifetime bans for any of the club’s fans who were found to be responsible for throwing seats.

He said: Pulis said: “If that was the situation, and they’ve got CCTV cameras up there, those supporters should never come into another football ground. It is like people coming into someone else’s house – you have to show respect.”

West Midlands Police made 17 arrests related to the game.

Among the arrests were eight people detained on suspicion of public-order offences, four on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly and two on suspicion of breach of the peace, police said.

Chief Superintendent Chris Johnson from West Midlands Police said in a statement: “We carried out a large policing operation for the FA Cup yesterday evening (March 7) to ensure supporters could enjoy the game in a safe environment.

“During the course of the operation 17 men were arrested for various public order offences. An investigation has been launched to identify people involved in a disturbance before the match at the Witton Arms pub.

“Anyone who saw what happened should contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. We will also be supporting the Football Association to identify people involved in pitch invasions that happened at the end of the match.”