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‘No justification’ for Crawley pitch invasion after Fulham cup upset, says EFL

Crawley Town v Fulham – Carabao Cup – Second Round – Broadfield Stadium
(Image credit: Steven Paston)

Crawley supporters have been told there was “no justification” for the pitch invasion which followed Tuesday evening’s Carabao Cup win over Premier League Fulham.

Hundreds of home fans spilled onto the field at Broadfield Stadium to celebrate the shock 2-0 victory over the Cottagers.

The English Football League (EFL) has condemned the actions of the perpetrators, in addition to those who “encourage and glorify” such behaviour on social media, and plans to work with the Sky Bet League Two club to identify those involved.

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The Football Association has confirmed it will investigate the events.

Football authorities announced tougher penalties for pitch invasions, such as club bans and criminal records, following a string of unsightly incidents at the end of last season, including a Nottingham Forest fan headbutting Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp.

“The EFL condemns the actions taken by a number of individuals leading up to, during and following the unacceptable mass pitch incursion at the end of Crawley Town’s Carabao Cup tie against Fulham,” read an EFL statement.

“EFL clubs, their employees, the Football Supporters’ Association, and the game’s wider stakeholders, have made a collective commitment to ensure that the safety of all those involved in the game is not compromised by anti-social and criminal behaviour.

“Everyone associated with staging and attending football matches has a responsibility to meet that commitment and should also be fully aware that it is against the law to enter the pitch at any time without permission and doing so could result in a club ban and criminal record for the perpetrators.

“It is vital that those playing the game can do so safe in the knowledge that they will not be subjected to violent, threatening, or anti-social behaviour going forward.

“Whilst acknowledging the occasion of Crawley’s victory against a Premier League opponent, there can be no justification to enter the pitch without authority.”

Home supporters chanted ‘If Crawley win, we’re on the pitch’ during the second-round tie, prompting the club to put out messages on the public address system warning them not to do so.

In a social media exchange on Tuesday morning, the club retweeted footage of the invasion in response to light-hearted criticism from a betting publisher.

Crawley fans ignored warnings to stay off the Broadfield Stadium pitch

Crawley fans ignored warnings to stay off the Broadfield Stadium pitch (Steven Paston/PA)

“It is also ill advised to encourage and glorify such actions through social media, other digital platforms, and the broader media,” continued the EFL statement.

“This type of inappropriate behaviour is not welcomed and wherever appropriate, the authorities will take the necessary action to ensure this does not happen in the future.

“Simply put, the pitch is for participants and the stands for spectators.

“The EFL has been in contact with the club to discuss the various circumstances surrounding the incursion, including identifying the individuals involved, while the FA have confirmed they will be investigating last night’s events.”

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