Brighton fans urged to remain in the stands after Everton ground invasion Brighton News

ALBION supporters are warned pitch trespassing is a criminal offense ahead of the Seagulls game against West Ham.

After a series of high-profile pitch invasions, fans were told to stay in the stands when the game ended and not ruin their season with criminal records and a lengthy club ban.

Albion manager Graham Potter, who will lead his players on a round of appreciation shortly after the final whistle this afternoon, described the incidents at matches across the country earlier this week as ‘shocking’ .

He said: “We want to show our appreciation to the fans at the end of an incredible season, so we’re asking all the fans to stay in the stands and give us this opportunity to say thank you.”

The Argus: Graham Potter, manager of Albion: credit - Richard ParkesGraham Potter, Albion manager: credit – Richard Parkes

Those considering staging a pitch invasion have also been warned that Sussex Police have successfully pursued, or are in the process of pursuing, everyone who entered the pitch at the Amex Stadium this season – with the help of the club.

End-of-season Premier League games have been marred by pitch invasions, with some fans clashing with and even assaulting players and other club staff.

A Nottingham Forest fan headbutted Sheffield United player Billy Sharp earlier this week and has been jailed for 24 weeks.

Other incidents have also taken place following matches at Everton, Northampton and Port Vale and are being investigated by police.

The Argus: Huddersfield Town fans took to the pitch in celebration after a game earlier this weekHuddersfield Town fans took to the pitch in celebration after a game earlier this week

The recent invasions come after data from the UK Football Policing Unit revealed there had been a 36 per cent increase in reported incidents of disorder in the first half of the current campaign, compared to the same period of the 2019-20 season.

However, Chief Constable Mark Roberts – the National Police Chiefs Council’s football policing chief, said a return to perimeter fencing is not the answer to deter such action.

“It will be, frankly, an utter failure of all of us if we ever go back to a situation where there were fences around the ground,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“It’s not safe, we don’t want it and we’d like to think we can handle it without it.”

Albion take on West Ham at the Amex Stadium at 4pm tomorrow, with the Seagulls set to secure their best ever Premier League final position.

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This notice was published: 2022-05-21 08:54:04

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