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The price of a pitch invasion

Filed: Thursday, 22nd March 2018
By: Staff Writer

Five supporters who entered the field of play during the Premier League meeting with Burnley have been banned from the Olympic Stadium for life.

And a number of other supporters who are said to have been captured on CCTV throwing objects towards the Directors' Box have also been told not to return to the Olympic Stadium.

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"West Ham United can confirm that swift and decisive action has been taken against a number of spectators who breached stadium regulations or were found to have committed acts of severe violence and physical aggression at our recent Premier League match against Burnley," read statement, published on Thursday.

"Lifetime bans from all West Ham United matches, both home and away, have today been issued to five individuals who crossed safety barriers to enter the field of play – a criminal offence that is a severe breach of stadium safety regulations - while a number of individuals have also been banned for life for violently throwing coins or objects with intent to injure or harm on the bridge directly in front of the Directors’ Box.

"Furthermore, a number of additional incidents, including attempted pitch incursions and acts of violence, are currently being investigated in collaboration with stadium operators LS185 and the police. The Club expect to issue further bans based on witness statements and the high quality CCTV footage available, prior to our next home match against Southampton on 31 March.

"West Ham United would like to reiterate that the safety and security of our supporters, players and staff remains our absolute priority at London Stadium. We take a zero tolerance approach to any form of violence that endangers the welfare of others, and we are committed to ensuring a safe and comfortable environment for all spectators."

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Co-owner David Sullivan claimed to have been hit in the face by a coin during the fracas, although no video evidence is yet to have emerged. However a season ticket holder who was sitting close to the chairman told KUMB that he very little very little being thrown in their direction.

"I was sat directly behind the Directors' box and had a pretty good of the entirety of the demonstrations," said the unnamed fan. "When Sullivan et al got up to leave it looked like there was a couple of things thrown, but it wasn't easy to see. It could well have been coins. I wouldn't describe it as 'quite a few' though.

"I did not see any 'severe violence' nor did I see any pitch invasion attempts 'thwarted', although after the first bloke ran on the pitch and was pushed over by Noble there were a few in the North/East corner that seemed to make a half-arsed attempt to enter the pitch, and were 'dissuaded' by a steward."

One of the supporters to have been issued with a lifetime ban is corner flag-carrying Paul Colborne, 61, who has been following the club for 49 years.

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