Blues chief: don't fine clubs over pitch invasions

·3-min read
There have been a series of incidents from pitch invasions recently (photo: PA)
There have been a series of incidents from pitch invasions recently (photo: PA)

Carlisle United's EFL man John Nixon says it would be wrong for football's authorities to react to recent pitch invasions by fining clubs or ordering games behind closed doors.

Blues co-owner Nixon, an EFL board member who also sits on the FA Council, said he planned to tell colleagues at the game’s top table that imposing heavy penalties on clubs would be unfair.

The issue of how to respond to the recent scenes, which have seen some players attacked amid post-match invasions, has been high on football’s agenda in recent weeks.

Nixon also suggested it would be hypocritical for the authorities to harshly penalise clubs when they had themselves failed to bring certain incidents under control.

“There’s been some talk that the FA’s going to say to clubs, when fans go on the pitch, we’ll solve this problem by doing [things like] fining them, or playing games behind closed doors,” Nixon said.

“Personal opinion – that, for me, is totally the wrong approach.

News and Star: Nottingham Forest fans on the pitch after their game against Sheffield United (photo: PA)
News and Star: Nottingham Forest fans on the pitch after their game against Sheffield United (photo: PA)

Nottingham Forest fans on the pitch after their game against Sheffield United (photo: PA)

“You don’t come along with a big stick. You try and find [a way] to deal with this, try and stop them, educate them, prevent them.

“That’s going to be my message to them. If you want to lead football, in England, lead it – don’t come along with a big stick, hit the fans and hit the clubs, and then get more fines going back into you, to make you richer.”

Nixon said much of the current debate on the subject was “emotive” given the frequency of recent incidents.

Invasions after play-off games and Premier League matches have seen, for instance, a Nottingham Forest fan jailed for attacking Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp.

Swindon players including ex-Carlisle player Harry McKirdy complained that they were attacked by Port Vale fans.

Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira avoided punishment after appearing to kick an Everton fan who was goading him.

And Aston Villa keeper Robin Olsen was assaulted in the wake of Manchester City’s title-winning game, leading the home club to issue an apology.

News and Star: John Nixon (photo: Barbara Abbott)
News and Star: John Nixon (photo: Barbara Abbott)

John Nixon (photo: Barbara Abbott)

Nixon said that, while the problem needed to be tackled, those doing the tackling needed to reflect on their own failings.

Speaking at a United fans’ forum this week, he added: “I’m not an advocate of the big stick. Fining clubs and playing games behind closed doors…if they take that approach, you’ve got to say to them, ‘Hang on a minute, what happened at the FA Cup final when all the flares went off? You let them in, you let them set all the flares off inside Wembley. You didn’t stop that. So are you gonna fine yourself?’

“What happened at the Euro final, when about a thousand fans or more got in[without tickets]? Are you gonna fine yourself?

“I don’t think they’ve thought through that we’ve got a social problem at present and we’ve got to tackle it in a different way.

“We’ve got to think somewhat outside the box. Fans have the answer and we’ve just got to tap into them.”

READ MORE: Carlisle United directors fans' forum - as it happened!

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